Prior to submitting my articles to Business Insider, I generally pass my thoughts and analysis through a group of cohorts consisting of friends, family, colleagues, and financial authorities that I trust to provide me honest and objective feedback to my considerations.
In line with that feedback I am finding that nothing resonates more with this fairly solid cross-section of laypersons and experts than when I go counter to all the “negativism” out there regarding the future of the United States. Even though all my cohorts know that I am highly critical of economists, pundits, and many of the misadventures of the current and the previous Government Administration, they also know that I am “bullish” on American business and the United States of America as a whole.
And my cohorts tend to support that—not because I think they just want to, but because they too believe that our country is far from going down the tubes. So here are 10 tidbits of advice I would like to offer those of you who are also American Bulls and tired of listening to the naysayers, prognosticators of doom, and other disillusioned malcontents of the United States of America.
One. Whenever you see Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Paul Krugman, or any other chief economist on the television talking about what they think should be done to rejuvenate the United States’ economy—turn the sound off or turn to another station. Listening to the solution of the dismal scientists will drive you nuts—they do not even have a clue. Nor do they have the answers.
Two. Do not expect your Government to solve your problems. Even though most of our Government leaders are well-intentioned and decent-minded people, the two-party system has gone astray. Remain independent with your own views regarding Government policy. The middle is closer to the real America than the left or the right, republican or democrat. Demand action through compromise. Listen to the extremes, but don’t let extremism set policy.
Three. Believe in the long term more than the short term—both in the future and in the past. The foundation that made America great (individual freedom, innovation, and the frontier spirit) has hardly been lost. Cherish these traits because it is our advantage.
Four. Support risk-taking and don’t turn negative. Opportunities always exist even in downturns and you cannot give into mistakes. And as anyone with any kind of success knows, failure is a good teacher. The most important thing is to strive for something of value. If you fall down in the process of trying to achieve that value, then pick yourself back up, brush yourself off, and get back at it again.
Five. Understand that competition is good and not something to be feared. And understand that the driving force behind Economic Globalization is not China, Brazil, India, or Russia, but the United States of America. Economic Globalization is not something to be feared, but something that will lead to a more peaceful, environmentally sound, and healthy world society.
Six. Quit looking back over your shoulder worrying whether the competition might be catching up because it will be. It is a lot easier for “developing countries” to raise their standard of living than it is for the citizens of the United States to raise theirs. After all, why do you think they call developing countries developing? Keep looking ahead and thinking of ways to keep the lead that you have earned. Your second wind will come, America, if you don’t give in. In truth, you are not in as bad of shape as others would like you to think. And if you don’t believe me, then check out something like the CIA World Factbook—it may raise your perspective a little.
Seven. Do not think that total GNP is the be all and end all measurement of your country’s success. Individual freedom, food, water, shelter, energy, GNP per capita, existing infrastructure, and overall quality of life offers a much more complete measure of a country’s value than a nation’s total GNP. Think of ways to make things better not just for yourself, but also for the rest of the world’s population. In other words, think in terms of “pareto optimums.”
Eight. Continue developing both your “right brain” and your “left brain” America. Believe it or not, that is the best thing that freedom has to offer. Support your engineers, mathematicians, and scientists, but understand that there is also much to learn from your philosophers, artists, musicians, and writers. Acknowledge, appreciate, and learn from the best of your best.
Nine. Invest in your business community. Gold is a commodity of “negativism” and keeping cash under your pillow will hardly make you sleep better. Be an “internationalist-nationalist” and not an “ugly American.” Think globally, but act locally.
10. And above all else, continue dreaming and putting your dreams into action. In its finest hours, the United States has been known to be a country that takes small steps for man, but large steps for mankind. And there is nothing wrong with continuing in that manner while raising the world’s values to that same high standard.
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