Proper Perspective in Tough Times

I was at a Board of Directors meeting last night for a very active, productive and wonderful organization, The Zachary Scott Theater ( As a responsible Board, we are mindful of economic changes as they relate to our task at hand. Some of the thoughts brought up last night reflected some of the members' concern of what tough economic times are in our near and distant future. I even heard some predictions of "doom and gloom" that the media has recently been flooding the airwaves and print with. I was instantly reminded of one of the most beneficial things I learn from the LifeStory interviews I conduct ... perspective. Whether it's the Holocaust survivors describing their experiences in Nazi occupied Europe or the 90-plus year olds describing what the Great Depression of the 1930s was really like, I gain a true perspective of what's going on in the US today. If you came from another planet and merely read the newspaper (or listened to prime time news on television), you would think that the second Great Depression had begun.

I suggest that anyone should merely open their eyes and describe what they see tomorrow on the downtown streets of your community. Do you see bread lines of hungry people waiting for a meal? Do you see your bank locked up and out of business? Do you see signs on the recently closed businesses that say "Juden" ("Jews" - indicating a closed business because it is now unlawful to own a business because the owner is of a certain religion, race or nationality) spray-painted on the building? Absolutely not!

What you see are people working and moving about like there is little difference from a few months or years ago. Yes, they might have less money in their pockets. They might even have a portfolio of investments that is worth a fraction of its value of a few months ago. But what you don't see is what happened in the 1930's. The lesson learned is that while we should be aware of the economic reality that we face, we should keep in perspective what it could be ... a lot worse! Which also means it is a lot better than what we hear and read through the mainstream media.

If we proceed with a view of the glass half full, rather than half empty, our glasses will fill up before we know it. Then we will all look back at these times and wonder what the perceived panic was all about. If you have any doubt, just visit with a 90-plus year old and ask them to describe what it was really like in the 1930s. 

The current President of the Zachary Scott Theater Board did a great job of adding perspective to our situation. We are currently achieving our goals, serving the community well and are responsibly moving ahead with positive attitudes. Proper perspective is a great thing. Let's use it and keep smiling as we do.