Do I cling to the hope that things are looking better or do I focus on the bad news?

Dear Aunty B,

This economy feels like a rollercoaster.

I keep a close tab on news, including your excellent publications, but never in my 30-year career has the future looked so unclear.

As an entrepreneur, I am a natural optimist. However, I look hard for the bad news so I am not caught out and in order to run risk scenarios.

Anyway I suppose my question is this: with so much bad news out there dotted with signs of improvement, how should I see the future? Glass half full or half empty? Do I look for more good news? Do I cling to the hope that things are getting better and then look for proof? Or should I focus on the bad news and fall into a state of complete paralysis like many business people I know?

Pondering on the weekend,

Travelling

 

Dear Pondering,

Well, aren’t you cute. For a start, there is less bad news than you think. It’s just traditional media sells bad news because they think it sells more newspapers.

And there are not just dots of improvement, there are whole flourishes of good news – but you can expect the bad to keep coming because we are bouncing along the bottom. And that, my friend, is the good news.

If you are bouncing along the bottom there is only one way to go. But how do we know with all these confusing signals when is the time to feel more optimistic?

Here is the simple Aunty B rule on when to feel more positive. And it’s this: when there are more bits of good news and less bad news. In other words, when things are trending up.

Now, as I said, we are currently bumping along the bottom so the graph resembles a patient flat lining despite all the chest thumping and resuscitation going on.

But if you look carefully you can see it! There are signs of life! There is definitely more bits of positive news coming out – and less bad news. You can feel that trend line cracking up and starting to track in a positive direction. Also have a look over your shoulder. See all those paralysed people? They are still looking at last year. They just assume it is going to be a repeat of bad news. Even more reason to be positive. You can get the jump on them.

So don’t just cling to the hope that things are getting better. Know they are improving albeit from a very low base. Start planning now for a pick-up later in the year. It won’t be back to how it was but it certainly won’t be as bad as it has been.

Be smart,

Your Aunty B

To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

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