Making Things Great In 2017

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(By Wayne Ens) You have probably heard all the cliches, like “Attitude determines altitude” or Henry Ford’s famous quote “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.”

But our friends in the newsroom are in a race to undermine your attitude.

When the GDP grows by 1 percent, the growth is reported to be “sluggish.” Yet when it declines by 1 percent, it is “crashing.” We are now experiencing the longest recovery period in history. But it’s the slow pace of that recovery that makes the headlines, even though rapid recoveries are historically responsible for the “bubbles” that burst and cause crashes.

Recently, a crawl across the bottom of my TV screen read, “One out of 10 people shot by police are unarmed.” Wow, that means when a cop fires his gun in a tense and dangerous situation, the odds are overwhelming that the perpetrator will be armed. The headline should have focused on the whopping nine out of 10 perpetrators shot by police who are armed!

It wouldn’t surprise me if the last good-news story on the front of any national newspaper was in 1945, with the end of World War II.

I, for one, refuse to join that race to the bottom.

I started in this business as a newspaper reporter in a small market. One day, I happened to write two stories, each with about 11 inches of copy. One of the stories was about a factory that was shutting down, putting 250 people out of work, and the other was about a new factory that announced it was relocating to the same town and was hiring up to 1,200 people.

When the paper came off the press that day, the bad news about the plant closing captured the front page headline, while the good-news story was chopped from 11 inches to 3 inches and was buried on page seven.

When I asked the editor why a story that affected 250 people would make headlines while a story that affected 1,200 people was buried, he said, “Our readers want to know about tragic events. Good business news is really just advertising.”

I asked for a transfer from the newsroom to the advertising department that day, and have never looked back.

If you want to succeed in 2017, it will be up to you to seek out the good news, and see the glass as half full.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Now, in the fourth quarter of 2016, I’m reviewing the performance of our various station clients across the continent, and here is what I’ve discovered. Those who dug in for a tough year, and planned to cut their way to success, are having that tough year. But amazingly, those who planned to look for opportunities are doing great.

I’m not asking you to play ostrich and stick your head in the sand, ignoring the realities around you, but there is no win in seeing the glass as half-empty.

The headlines will make certain you are not oblivious to what is wrong in the world. But it’s up to you to focus on what is right if you want to be happy, and if you want to succeed in 2017.

When you hear about a 6 percent unemployment rate, don’t forget that equates to a 94 percent employment rate. Considering most households have two income earners, the number of households with no one employed would be even lower than 6 percent.

When you are in a market that is impacted negatively by low oil prices, think about the thousands of dollars lower gas prices have put into consumers’ pockets and your economy.

If you read The Little Engine That Could when you were a kid, you know the power in being “a happy little train.” If you think like that “happy little train” as you plan for 2017, I’m betting you’ll succeed no matter what headlines are thrown in your path.

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