I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying: “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” Like me though, you’ve probably not given it a great deal of thought, or considered what you can learn from it.
Ill winds don’t come much worse than tornados. Despite being an incredibly destructive force, there is a positive side if you look hard enough. For example, there was a gentleman called Tetsuya Fujita, of the University of Chicago, who has made a career out of ‘twisters’. He is a world expert, and the scale on which the severity of a tornado is measured carries his name. Thanks to tornadoes, Fujita’s place in history is assured. Without them nobody would know who he was, and he may never have made his mark. Tornadoes have benefited others too. Numerous film-makers, TV documentary teams, authors and photographers have enhanced both their professional reputations and bank balances as a result of work associated with these killer winds.
When news of a tornado is reported in the press or on TV, everyone focuses on the cost. It’s always portrayed as a negative event, which is understandable. But one man’s cost is another man’s revenue. The cost of clearing up after a tornado doesn’t disappear into the ether. It goes into the pockets of the enterprising individuals and companies who make it their business to deal with such matters. The following news story illustrates this…
“Great news today from Jackson County, Texas, where a tornado ripping through several large towns has created a boom for construction firms in the area. A spokesman for the local trade association estimated that $30 million of work would be coming the way of local building firms, and at least 1,000 short-term jobs will be created. Local hospitals also reported record business, with billings to insurance companies likely to approach a five-year high.”
I’m sure you realise that I’m using tornadoes as a euphemism for just about any “negative” event. The point is this – for any negative side to an event there is always the other, more positive, side… a positive side for someone. The task is to identify that positive side and capitalise on it.
Let’s look at more examples. War and international conflict are universally regarded as negative. Yet for many – those involved in the production of armaments for example – war is good and peace is bad. It’s the other side of the coin that we rarely look for.
Understandably, when my office was broken into, I wasn’t in the mood to appreciate the positive side of the ever-increasing crime figures in this country. However, the companies I subsequently paid to install an alarm system and roller shutter doors were probably better placed to do so.
Then there’s the economic recession, which is almost universally viewed as negative. Yet in any recession there are winners and losers. Reduced property, equipment and stock prices will provide an economic springboard to many new ventures.
Redundancy is also perceived to be a negative event. And yet an equally valid interpretation is to see it as an opportunity to make a fresh start, allowing time to find a new, more fulfilling path, and there may be a hefty redundancy payment to finance the search. Many people go through redundancy and find a far better paid, more fulfilling job than that which they lost. And with their redundancy payment still intact.
There isn’t a single ‘negative’ event that doesn’t have a positive side –yes, even death, as any undertaker or florist will testify. The important thing is to identify the positive aspect to events and put yourself on the right side of the fence.
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