Are you surrounded by Eeyores?

You remember him, don’t you? Eeyore is the gloomy, old stuffed donkey who has a poor opinion of all the other animals in the Forest and pals around with Winnie the Pooh. If you have a lot of Eeyores in your life not only are you negatively impacting your daily happiness, you’re impacting the economic recovery too. Yes, you’re that powerful.

Perhaps you’ve heard the quote attributed to Jim Rohn “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” meaning their world view directly impacts yours. If they see the glass as half empty, chances are you will too. Your brain actually helps you prove your point by filtering out information contradictory to your beliefs.

How does this impact the economy—and more importantly the economic recovery?

Consumer confidence impacts consumer spending which accounts for over 70% of gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of a country’s overall economy. Improvements in consumer spending will almost certainly result in an improved economy. But if you’re convinced nothing will ever get better chances are slim you’re going to part with your hard earned cash—much less go after that job you really want. Today, we are all much more value conscious—and that’s a really good thing in my opinion. However, to get ourselves out of the hole we’ve dug for ourselves, I believe we all need to bring more balance and rigor to our thinking about what is actually going on so that our actions help stimulate the economy.

Michigan has the highest unemployment of any state. Why? Because it is overly reliant on the automotive business and manufacturing has not been a source of growth for years. Closing manufacturing plants would have happened regardless of whether the economy was doing well or not—and its impact would naturally cascade across ancillary businesses that service these companies. Unfortunate, yes. Predictable, absolutely.

Be careful about confusing economic impact related to the recession with job losses that are a result of strategic business decisions like moving manufacturing offshore or out-of-state. Remember 10% unemployment means 90% are employed. Is that optimal? Of course not. But we have a strong economic base with the ability to retrench. There is always opportunity in tough times.

Challenge the conclusions people are making about the economy and by extension your career prospects. Consciously cultivate people who see the world differently than you to help round out your worldview. Make sure the Eeyores in your life are not negatively impacting your thinking—it will make it that much harder for you to see the opportunities you actually do have.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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