Saturday, December 26, 2009

When Being Right Can Be Wrong

I had a mini-epiphany today. I starting thinking about my years as co-host of a weekly community radio program, and the stories I chose to cover. About 18 months before housing prices sunk, before the so-called "recession" picked up steam, I pored over dozens of articles predicting financial calamity was on its way to most everyone in our nation and the world.

I thought the best way I could serve our listeners was to warn them about the upcoming fiscal crisis. I felt that if our listeners had knowledge of the factors that precipitated the financial hard times, they could better protect themselves as the markets began to shift. I grew frustrated that more people weren't heeding my warnings.

Every Monday evening, I'd take to the microphone and sound the alarm bell, saying, "The economy is going to hell in a handbasket!" I didn't use those exact words, but this basic thought became my mantra, and I chanted it week after week.

As a news/opinion broadcaster, I was also concerned with my credibility. I prided myself on researching all my stories, on making sure the information I presented was accurate and current. I took care to present fact as fact, and opinion as opinion. And when I did present opinion, I represented it cleary as such, and supported it with as much data as possible to show why I thought my opinion was valid. Basically, I wanted my opinion to be correct.

When I told listeners, "The economy is going to hell in a handbasket!", I wanted to be right. I'd often say "I hope I'm wrong about this", but deep inside, my ego was concerned with my credibility, so in essence, I really wanted to be right. God forbid the economy should remain stable and I end up with egg on my face!

When I look back, I realize I focused more on stories involving people who were being harmed by the economic trends and I minimized covering stories about people who remained resilient despite the fiscal challenges. I thought the resilient folks were probably anomalies, so I discounted them. My own need to be right was affecting which news stories I chose to cover on the radio show.

Unfortunately, I took my need to be right a step further. What better way to prove my claims but to show the economy downturn affect me personally, and in a big way? And that's exactly what happened. From personal experience, I could now say, "See? I was right!"

I'm not saying that external conditions didn't play a part in what happened to me personally, but I am saying that my attitude and intention toward how the economy would affect me played a much bigger part in my personal economic downturn.

In other words, my need to be right didn't serve me very well.

I realize now that in order to turn things around, I need to change that mantra. I need to find a better mantra that will help me better serve myself and my family so we can prosper, which in turn will provide the resources I need to serve those around me.

What would that new mantra be? Maybe this: "I have the intelligence, talent and resources to thrive, no matter what the external economic trends may bring. I am able to prosper and find abundance, and to show others how to do the same." Repeat after me!

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