Apocalypse not

December 15, 2014

We held our annual all-hands meeting the Friday before the holidays. Great energy. Tremendous learnings, and enough ideas, concepts, and suggestions to serve as a master’s degree in public relations.

A couple of guest appearances by clients set the tone for how our efforts are helping clients to grow around the world. For my part, I shared some insights into above all else, why optimism can overcome even the greatest of challenges. Why am I an optimist? Read on:

  1. When JFK set a goal to go to the moon in a decade, scientists didn’t even know what challenges lay before them. Yet, they were optimistic that they would be able to solve problems that didn’t yet know even existed and we made it to the moon ahead of schedule.
  2. If you add all the money invested in airlines you discover the industry has never made money. Yet, investors keep investing in flight and the world is much better because of it.
  3. In my first interview after college, I listened as a bow-tie wearing 20-something Madison Avenue ad guy looked over my portfolio and told me I would never be a writer. Countless articles, a couple of books, and literally millions of words later, I write, write well, and get paid handsomely for it.
  4. I went to a junior high school that had a secret bomb shelter dug beneath the floor of the cafeteria at a time when there were more than 60,000 nuclear warheads in the world. Yet, we survived.
  5. Swine flu, Y2K, SARs, bird flu, the impending ice age of the 1970s and the killer ozone hole of the 1980s … never happened.
  6. My grandfather would tell me stories about the Halley’s Comet hysteria of 1910 and how his father kept planting potatoes even though family and friends laughed at his ignorance in light of the world’s impending end. The potatoes grew. His family was fed. His offspring lived to plant and harvest their own crops.
  7. In 1900, a scant century ago, the first drug with any proven efficacy was introduced to the world: aspirin. Today, there are more than 6,600 prescription drugs and our life expectancy is longer than ever.
  8. And about that life expectancy. 150 years ago, the average American lived to age 35 or 40, about the same as our hunter gatherer ancestors. Now, American life expectancy is about 80, giving us two lives to live! So live them well!

Optimism. It’s powerful stuff!

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