Monday, July 7, 2008

Without Limits or Malaise?

Why is it some people thrive in spite of overwhelming problems in their lives, while others barely scrape by in spite of wealth, power, and place?

When people allow themselves to get stuck in a "limitations" mindset, life starts collapsing around them and its very hard to stop the implosion.

So what is a limitations mindset?

First a little warning: If your eyes glaze and your mind wanders when looking at numbers, please skip the next 2 paragraphs. I promise the article gets fun again after that.

Compare today to the 1970's, the Decade of Limitations. The media invented a catchy new term, the Misery Index, used to describe inflation over 10% and interest rates over 10%. On June 30, 1979 President Jimmy Carter delivered his infamous "Malaise Speech" blaming the American people for what was wrong with the nation. And there was a lot wrong.

Inflation peaked at 10.75% in 1979. Unemployment peaked at 10.1% in 1983. Mortgage interest rates peaked at 20% in 1980. And don't even ask about a home equity line of credit, home equity loan rates, 2nd mortgage, or refinancing.

Today the newspapers crow doom and gloom with 6.26% mortgage rates, inflation rates around 4% and 2.4% to 6.2% unemployment rates. "Its never been worse!" we hear some people cry. But that's only for those people who are still stuck in the '70's.

People who look around them and cry "We must conserve!" "The earth is dying!" "We're running out of oil!" and "All the good song writers are dead!" are still stuck in the '70's, the Decade of Limitations. They are like an anorexic bulimic who is surrounded by food, yet starves themselves to death. They are just out of touch with reality.

People who live without limits, look around them and see endless possibilities. Take one simple example. If you walk down a beach and complain because you have sand in your shoes you are stuck in the 70's.

On the other hand, if you live without limits, you look at the sand and you think "Hey, there sure is a lot of this stuff. And its really cheap and easy to come by. I wonder what I could do with it?" If you and a bunch of really creative friends get together, someone says "Hey, did you know sand is made up of silicon, which has some pretty cool electrical capabilities?" Then the next thing you know some crazy place called Silicon Valley is born and the world will never be the same again.

Or to put it in simple terms: When life hands you lemons, made lemonade.