Over 60 years ago, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote a book entitled "The Power of Positive Thinking." In it he suggested that since science has proven that a person can only have one thought in his/her brain at a time, it behooves them to think positive. Especially since we have a choice. It has also been scientifically proven that negative energy is stronger than positive energy. Its too bad that the public would rather read negative news than positive news and that is why the mass media plays up murders, suicides, rapes and the like.
The National Enquirer, a supermarket newspaper, has one of the highest circulations in the country. Why? Because they report scandals and scandals are negative.
Bernie Madoff has been selling stocks (or allegedly pretending to sell stocks) for 30 years. He was so respected in the industry that he served as chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange. He also, along with his wife, handled many charities opening the doors to many charity givers. He also donated millions of dollars, making him a "good" guy. My point is this. Until Madoff was arrested I had never heard of him, and you probably didnt either. Because of the media he became a household word. The newspapers put him on page one. And, if that same day someone had done a good deed somewhere in the country, I wonder what page that would have appeared on?
Getting back to Dr. Peale, who says that if you surround yourself with positive people and think positive ideas, positive things will happen, I grabbed several major newspapers and started hunting for positive news about the abating recession. And heres what I found (none of it on the front page). "Corporate Earnings are Blowing Away Analysts Estimates by the Widest Margin Ever." Here are some other good ones, "Major Layoffs and Assaults on Corporate Expenses are Showing Real Benefits," "During the 3rd Quarter Many Companies Report Keeping 7.5 Cents of Every Dollar of Revenue While it is Historically 6.5 Cents," "Boeing is Opening a Second Assembly Line and Wal-Mart is Starting to Sell Coffins." (Is that a positive move? I guess so! They sell everything else), and "Commerce Departments GDP Report to Show a Recovery Has Begun." Theres more. "Gold Is Up. Silver Is Up. All Commodoties Are Up."
I asked one respected business publisher if he thought the recession could possibly have a double dip. His answer, "All the mistakes have already been made, so the answer is no." Moral to this message: Lets test Dr. Peales philosophy. Lets all agree and act like its over and see what happens. It has been proven over and over that reality is more important than truth. If we all think it is over, and it isnt, it will be. If OJ commits a crime and is found innocent, the truth is that he is guilty, reality is that hes innocent. For 30 years people thought Madoff was honorable. Truth is that he was a crook, reality was that he made and spent zillions. Lets all work together and let the good news beat the bad news. Okay?
Roland Hopkins is the founder of the New England Real Estate Journal, Norwell, Mass.