LULU by John Linton Roberson (c) 2012.
I Didn't Write That!
29 September 2008
 
Time To Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses
Barbara Ehrenreich on why holding onto "positivity" like grim death has helped lead us blindly and helplessly to our present downfall.
Positive thinking is endemic
to American culture — from weight loss programs to cancer support groups — and in the last two decades it has put down deep roots in the corporate world as well. Everyone knows that you won’t get a job paying more than $15 an hour unless you’re a “positive person,” and no one becomes a chief executive by issuing warnings of possible disaster.

The tomes in airport bookstores’ business sections warn against “negativity” and advise the reader to be at all times upbeat, optimistic, brimming with confidence. It’s a message companies relentlessly reinforced — treating their white-collar employees to manic motivational speakers and revival-like motivational events, while sending the top guys off to exotic locales to get pumped by the likes of Tony Robbins and other success gurus. Those who failed to get with the program would be subjected to personal “coaching” or shown the door...
When it comes to how we think, “negative” is not the only alternative to “positive.” As the case histories of depressives show, consistent pessimism can be just as baseless and deluded as its opposite. The alternative to both is realism — seeing the risks, having the courage to bear bad news and being prepared for famine as well as plenty. We ought to give it a try.
My perspective might be a bit different; I''m accused by many of being a "pessimist", but that's not so odd now, is it? I've been looking straight at the horror of these years this whole time. So this downturn doesn't scare me as much as it might someone who trusted good times would always stay, rather than simply enjoying the good fortune when it came, but being prepared for a fall.

When the dot-com crash came--and I saw the mass cell-phone freak-out in Bank of America Plaza as I ate lunch that day--I was the only person I personally knew who'd never trusted the bubble to begin with, had no stocks, and lost no money.

Then the rest looked so surprised. Like now.

Careful or your faces will stay that way. And you can't afford Botox now.

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