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How to Survive the Tough Times, Personally and Professionally

by Michael Beck  |  
August 18, 2009

Let's be honest. There's no one-size-fits-all solution to survival during challenging times. But there are some strategies that will help no matter what situation you and your business are in.

The first strategy, for starters, is not to take things too seriously. I know that there can be significant consequences as a result of the things we do or don't do, but in the scope of things that really matter... those consequences are incidental.

Have you heard the expression "Don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff," from the book of the same name? When you put the everyday occurrences of life into perspective, most of them don't really matter all that much.

It's more important than ever in tough times to keep everything in its proper perspective. "Things" don't matter all that much. It's nice to have toys and gadgets, but toys can be replaced and we can still enjoy life without every latest gadget.

Yes, it's important to make a good impression, but people aren't attracted to you because of the suit you wear or the toys you have. It's who you are as a person that causes people to be attracted to you, choose to do business with you, and decide to follow you.

Don't get me wrong: Toys, gadgets, and suits are nice to have. My point is simply that if you have to forgo some of them in tough times, it won't have much bearing on your success. Don't take things so seriously. Instead, during tough times, be the best "you" that you can be.

A good place to start is by working on your attitude. How do you work on attitude? Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Cut out the negative messages. Stop watching TV news. Stop reading the newspaper. Trust me. In this day and age, you can't help but hear about the really important things. There's no need to seek them out (along with all the negative news and stories).

Avoid negative people. What you focus on determines your reality. If you hang around with people who see everything in a negative light, you will see everything in a negative light. It will become your reality. You can see where I'm headed with this.

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Michael Beck is "Head Zookeeper" at, a website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun!

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  • by Kevin McIntosh Tue Aug 18, 2009 via web

    Great advice Michael. I would add that some of these things are harder to do / change than others, so start with the easy stuff (like getting out of the office for coffee meetings) and grow from there. Once you are in a more positive mind set, it will attract more positive experiences.

    Also, check out "A Complaint Free World" by Will Bowen. It is a challenge to stop complaining...about anything. it is amazing how much we love to complain but in reality, complaining sets us up in a negative mind set. We all know someone who is a big you like to be around them? This is the very difficult challenge: go 21 days without complaining (honor system). If you can even get to 10 days, you'll be a better person for it!

  • by Lauren Rose Tue Aug 18, 2009 via web

    The comment "stop reading the newspaper" sounds a lot like President Obama's "don't travel to Vegas" statement that got him in a lot of hot water. Some of us make our living at newspapers and television stations... You get the picture. Working on your attitude is a great trip!

  • by Verena Fischer Wed Aug 19, 2009 via web

    I haven't been watching TV or reading the newspaper for about 4 years now (coinciding with starting to study Media and Cultural Studies) and it made me a happier person, because I don't have to deal with all this negativity anymore. The economical crisis only has such a strong grip on people's consuming behaviour, because it is advertised as such. Great advice!!! (And I say that even though some of my friends are journalists or work in producing TV)

  • by Jon Aston Thu Aug 20, 2009 via web

    Terrific article.

    You and your readers might enjoy/value my friend Sarah Robinson's "Just Walk The Grid" advice in a post called "Failing Sucks":

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