Garrison Wynn
Speaker, Consultant, Author

Garrison Wynn

Founder of Wynn Solutions, this keynote speaker is a former stand-up comedian and author of "The Real Truth About Success


Negative thinking = success

Q: As summer vacations end and fall approaches, many of us refocus our efforts on the workplace. How have the economic doldrums affected you, and how have you adapted to the new realities of your job and lifestyle? In these times, have the meanings of success changed?

Well, I must say personally I have been fortunate. Things have gone pretty well for my company through the so-called recession. We adjusted our marketing approach to capitalize on the circumstances. With sales lagging for most organizations and the introduction of a stimulus package, it seems the people who should have money to spend don't, and the people who shouldn't have money do.

The good news is that our shift in strategy worked; the bad news is that I have had a few strange client requests. I was told by one meeting planner not to take a limo from the airport. (I'm a sedan guy mostly, unless they accidentally send a stretch.) The client paid my full fee and held the event at a very nice resort. But this client simply felt that everyone should take cabs (which, because of the distance, wound up costing about 15 percent more than the sedan) so we could appear thrifty to ... whom? The bellhops and valet parking staff?

I was the keynote speaker at another event where hotel management decided to go green for the conference so they thought turning the air conditioning practically off at a Hyatt in San Antonio in July was a good idea. They should have called the event SweatFest 2010!

The people in the audience were fanning themselves like old women in a 1930s Southern church, and two Canadian attendees looked like they needed ambulatory assistance: "Canadian down! Canadian down!"

Working so hard to create the illusion of saving money and causing people to never do business with you again are two good examples of how people poorly navigate a dip in the economic road. No one ever says, "Hey, let's go back and swelter in that really hot hotel in Texas next year!"

I'm not into the whole recession thing; I think we generally have to work harder and smarter. It's a fact that the people with the most money buy in depressed economies, and there is always someone in every industry doing very well in tough times. Also, not overvaluing yourself in good times makes it much easier to get your price when pocketbooks tighten. We always have the occasional sluggish marketplace, but this particular period was mostly made worse by the media.

It's a fact that good news does not sell newspapers. There is not a nickel to be earned with good news! Be honest with yourself -- if you saw a news link on the Internet that read "Life Is Great," would you click that link? No, you would not. But if the link read "Headless Body Found in Topless Bar," you would click instantly.

Seventy-five percent of our thoughts are negative because it's how we have survived as a species. In the caveman days, those negative instincts created the worry that kept us from eating poisonous plants and trying to go one-on-one with the saber-toothed tiger. Brave people who fought to the death against all odds are not our ancestors. Those guys are dead!

Our real forefathers are the guys who said, "We need better spears and an opponent we can actually kill!" They are the ones who developed better technology and engaged in fights with higher survival rates.

My point is not that the media is all bad. After all, the media is in fact publishing this piece. The point is that we are addicted to problems but not so much to solutions. Negative thinking is designed to prevent us from being derailed by difficulties we did not anticipate, not to brainwash ourselves into thinking there is no hope.

To prevent that derailing, it's not enough to have an "I think I can, I think I can..." kind of self-assurance. We need self-insurance: "I can survive because I have seen the obstacles coming and have time to plan to go around them." Historically, people who see a glass as half empty are a bit more likely to fill up that glass than those who see it half full!

By Garrison Wynn  |  September 6, 2010; 9:02 PM ET  | Category:  Adapting to change Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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