Monday, April 13, 2009

As A Recessionista Thinketh...

Once upon a time, in a world very different than today, I accepted a date with a man who, prior to our first date, gave me a small book as a gift. The small green hardcover text was As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen. Fast forward several years, and the wisdom of that book, much like the lessons learned from the lovely time I spent on that date and the relationship it developed into, has continued to make me a wiser individual and better person, despite some challenging self-examination that both prompted. Here are a few of the lessons Allen teaches in a book that every Recessionista can learn from...

1. "Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions" In the difficult economy, it is easy for all of us to feel victims of the circumstances around us. Allen offers that we are directly in control of our circumstances via our thoughts, our outlook. For instance, I have two friends who have recently lost their jobs - one is completely overwhelmed, feels helpless, scared, frustrated, and is, unfortunately, flailing, whereas the other has remained calm, self-assessment, and, as it happens, is now being courted by prospective employers. Coincidence? Maybe. Yet, we are clearly at an advantage as masters of our own thoughts, so give it a go.

2. "Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself." These difficult times can bring out a range of emotions and behaviors. People never inclined to moodiness have devolved, and I have seen the coolest of cucumbers revert to a trembling mess. However, this difficult time has also revealed amazing strength in others - I have seen those who have experienced great loss turn around and give away more, those who are suffering who spend their time comforting others, and a spirit of camaraderie that has pervaded the nation. Difficult times offer the opportunity for us to examine who we really are...and they offer the opportunity to change that.

3. "Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results." This, in my opinion, is an inarguable truth. I have consistently found kindness and understanding, as well as keeping a clean, honest spirit, is a recipe for happiness, and by proxy, self-sustainment and fulfillment. Across most major religions and societies, the concept of being kind to your fellow man/Recessionista persists, despite Darwin, war, etc. My grandparents have shared stories of the Great Depression with me - people used to share what little bread and meat they had with their neighbors..."survival of the fittest" did not define the "Great Generation."

4. "A man can only rise, conquer, and achieve by lifting up his thoughts." I have an inkling that the author of the book "The Secret" has read James Allen before. This sentiment might feel a little Oprah, but actually, I will testify, it works. Keeping "intelligently positive" as I say, will serve as a method to waylay anxiety, keep your head clear and spirit up. For Recessionistas interested in purchasing a copy of this short yet powerful text, go to For Recessionistas even savvier with the dinero, it is also available for free online.

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