August 31, 2009

7 Steps to Thriving in Any Economy

The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter. — W. Somerset Maugham

Everything I know about how to thrive anywhere, I learned from the Sahara Desert.

Few locations on our beautiful planet match the inhospitable Sahara in the rawness of its environment. Yet life thrives there. How can this be? More to the point, what can we learn from the desert denizens that thrive in such a place?

Most people think it barren, but the Sahara is home to over 300 species of migratory bird, dozens of mammals, numerous reptiles, and countless insects. Oh, and human beings. Yes, we’re there, too, living in complete harmony with the environment.

Makes sense to me, then, that thriving ought to be our natural state, regardless of how bad the news tells us the economy may be.

Don’t Let the Economy Mesmerize You Into Inaction

I confess I felt compelled to write about thriving after a phone call with a friend yesterday. “It’s bad out there,” he insisted. “Shops are vacant, and there aren’t many customers for the ones that are still open.”

“Yeah?” I said. “So how is it you stay in business?”

“I’m unique,” my friend replied. “I stay on top of what my customers need, and I give it to them better than anyone else. So, like I was saying, it’s pretty bad out there.”

I had to laugh. Despite his observations about the state of our economy, he didn’t believe any of it applied to himself. Why not? Because he uniquely and effectively gives his customers what they want at a good price.

I work with a lot of anxious business people. It’s part of what I do. They’re so worried about the economy that they’ve become hypnotized by the spectre of losing their businesses or their jobs. Some of them have.

But you don’t have to be so mesmerized.

All you have to do is pay attention to what’s going on around you and follow seven simple steps to thrive in any economy.

The Seven Simple Steps

What works in the Sahara Desert and what works for my friend will work for you, too. The seven steps to thrive are:

  1. Before anything else, be completely present. From that practice of presence, pay careful attention to everything happening around you.
  2. Be well integrated with your environment. Work with it; don’t expect it to work according to your demands.
  3. Seek to serve rather than to be served. Serve well.
  4. Work the way the Universe works: Synthesize, collaborate, and be concentric.
  5. Turn off the news. Look around you. Yes, there are empty stores. There are also thriving businesses, and new ones starting every day. Stop focusing on the potholes in the road ahead or you’ll hit every one of them.
  6. Be resilient. Keep your mind and body sharp.
  7. Tune into the change needs of the people you serve. These are not platitudes. They’re truths.

You’ll find many different ways to follow these seven steps. Much has been written about thriving, but you’d do worse than pick up a copy of The Richest Man in Babylon, by George Samuel Clason. It’s a quick and simple read that packs a wallop.

Oh, and by the way — it’s not about riches. It’s about creating the sustainable life you truly desire.

No matter where you live.

Comment Below ↓

There are no comments yet, be the first!

You must log in to post a comment.