There’s No Such Thing As A Negative Event

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.

Kind Regards

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John Harrison  


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