There is a common trait among human beings: the belief that our problems have never been worse than today, and that they are insurmountable.
But let us face it: every decade has had its own challenges. Ask your parents, and they will tell you that the 60s were scary, the 70s even more scary, the 80s also very scary. As for yourself, you will certainly remember how scary the 90s were, as well as the 2000s?
The problem is compounded by the press and media. Newspapers live from events and sensational announcements, and the end of the world is certainly a good one. So we should all be terrified. And mortified.
Take our debt: how awful!
Take unemployment and job off-shoring to India and China: scary!
Take our lack of growth: very scary!
Take the American, UK and Spanish property market crashes! Scary!
Take Greece, Ireland, Island: not less scary!
The fact is: you should not bother too much. Think about all the traumas and disasters that human beings as a species had to face in the last 1 million years: life has been tough and more than tough, everywhere in the world. But our species is immensely adaptable and resilient. The best proof is the very fact that you are here, well alive, reading this column on a PC, using the Internet. You, your family, your neighbours, we are all winners. Our forefathers have made it across hundreds of centuries and thousands of generations, all the way up to you and me. We are the survivors of all the great troubles that the world has gone through. Our problems today, however great they might seem, are actually nothing unusual. There are challenges. And all challenges have their solutions.
All countries in trouble are going to recover. How? Nobody knows exactly, but we are going to recover for sure.
The good news is that there are still huge pockets of growth on earth. Take the so called ‘BOP’: bottom of the pyramid. These are the 2, 3 or even 4 billions people on earth that live with less than 1000 USD per annum. These guys all have needs, and although their individual income might be low, their combined income is actually huge. Better serving the needs of the poorer in the world and helping them grow and live a better life: addressing and solving this challenge is going to be a source of growth, job creation, wealth creation, as well as human advancement.
The best thing we can do is to adopt a positive attitude towards the future. We wish that we could all share the following traits of character:
- Customer orientation: focus on customer needs and how those needs can best be served;
- Look into the future, rather than brooding on the past. The past is ‘sunk’, nothing can be changed about it, whereas in the future, anything is possible;
- Learn from your mistakes; because you can learn more from your mistakes than your successes. There is no such thing as a failure: everybody has a second chance in life;
- Innovate, using education and technology as a source of growth: personal, economical as well as spiritual.
So none of us should be scared, and certainly not the Americans who have many times over shown their ability to rebound. Think about the following companies: IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, eBay, Google, YouTube, Cisco. All American great success stories.
Yes, many jobs are gone for ever, in the Americas as well as everywhere else on earth. Yes, China has become the manufacture of the world. Yes, India is something like the world software development house. But this is all good news in the medium term. As consumers, this gives us access to products and services at affordable price; and as the Asian middle class becomes larger and larger, this opens up new markets, new business opportunities, new jobs and new companies to be set up. In the next 10-30 years we will also learn how to better address the needs of the poorer people in society. This will make our world a better one. And a more peaceful one as well.
With these thoughts, INVESTAURA Management Consultants closes the last day of the year 2010. We would like to thank all our clients for the trust that they have placed in us in the past year. We also thank our associate companies and other business partners for the positive relationships that we have cultivated in 2010.
We wish you all a Happy New Year 2011. May the New Year bring you success in your undertakings, and more than anything else, good health. Enjoy the New Year´s celebrations and let us all have a great 2011!