Dismiss the Gloom Merchants

Home is the traveler, home from the road. After several weeks on the highways and byways of America I am back home and attempting to get into some form of work mode. Heaven knows there is a lot of work waiting for me.


I can even recall one chief in Alabama who mentioned to me that their FIRE Act funded pumper was the first new vehicle ever seen in his county. Yet this man, and his associates, keeping pushing forward to protect their communities. These dedicated people just take each new problem as a challenge and move on to the next day and the next. Oh they may grumble, but they don't crumble.

It would be my suggestion that you do not allow yourself to become bogged down in this world of crying and complaining. This action leads nowhere. You need to spin your complaining around and make it into a positive force. As a buddy of mine has often said, when life hands you lemons, make some lemonade. Just be sure to use enough sugar and water to make the mixture right for your folks.

There is one major problem which usually arises from being a complainer. You are so busy bitching and moaning that you are unable to do anything of a positive nature. You are so busy living inside of the cloud of funk you create that this in turn makes you a part of the problem. I know this because there have been times when I succumbed to the lure of the "gloom merchant".

Many have been the times when I fell into a funk and was unable to be a positive player for my team. Having your brain lock up is a serious problem. In my case I have suffered through periods of time when I suffered from what is generally known as "writer's block."

Let me tell you this. When a writer loses the ability to be creative, they might as well go out and get a job at a car wash. The same thing holds true for every member of an organization. We all have roles to play and if we suddenly find ourselves unable to think, our ability to function is greatly diminished. It is at this point that we become mere ciphers.

If you are unable to think you run the risk of doing something stupid. In our business that can have fatal consequences. The exact same thing happens when a person falls under the spell of a nay-saying "gloom merchant". They are so busy agreeing with them that you miss small opportunities to turn things around which pop up from time to time.

In the midst of the other person's negativity why not try being positive. While you run the risk of getting into disputes, you also may have the opportunity to turn things around. At the very least you will confuse the living daylights out of them with your cheery outlook. Many of life's great successes have come as a result of serious failures.

Think about the Lisa computer developed by Apple. It was supposed to be the next great leap forward when it was developed in the early 1980's. It worked very well unfortunately it was so expensive that many organizations could not justify the leap into such new technology.

Did this stop the company from moving forward? Not in the least. It led to the development of the Macintosh family of computers that became extremely successful. The development team kept forging forward and the result is, as they say, history. There was a case where a "doom and gloom" merchant could have halted a project that became an outstanding success.

I have often stimulated productive discussions by playing the role of the idea monger. There are times when a person simply has to keep spouting ideas. That is what I try to do. Some of my dumbest ideas have turned into great things when massaged by a group of productive listeners and thinkers.

That is one of the aspects of brainstorming that is frequently overlooked. Just because something initially seems dumb, do not dismiss it. That dumb idea many not be all bad. If properly recorded and used, it has the potential to serve as a jumping off point for some really productive idea. Then you can sit back and know in your heart that you played a part in the success which occurs.

Let me offer you a bit of advice. Do not grumble: plan. Do not let the winds of change blow you about like a leaf in the midst of the autumn gales. When you feel like grumbling about the hand that life has dealt you stop and take stock of your options.

What are your strengths and talents? What are your weaknesses? I am suggesting that honesty is the only way to deal with this. Once you have done this I would urge you to work from your strengths and downplay your weaknesses. Better yet I would urge you to find someone whose strengths play well against your weaknesses.