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July 17, 2010 3:00 PM CDT

Don’t Worry About the Recession

Contractor tip of the month

By

Profits are down, regulations are up, workloads are slim, building owners are demanding more for less, we are in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and I am telling you not to worry about it. That hurts, doesn’t it?

Part of our job as business owners is to deal with the many ups and downs the business life brings. That’s just the way it is. Can any one of us do anything about it? I don’t think so. Wait a minute! You could do something about it. You could worry yourself to death, while causing yourself health problems and/or heart failure. Some doctors estimate that as much as 60 percent of all health problems are due to worry and stress that one puts on oneself.

Last week at a party, I ran into an old friend who I hardly see. Everything he says is negative, like, “I have only worked eight weeks this year,” or “This valley is filled with cancer, and we are all going to get it,” and “I have been miserable for the last two years with my life.” Do you think I am looking forward to running into him again soon? Good answer!

As I take calls from contractors around the country, I always ask, “How are you doing?” Lately, I have been hearing, “I ain’t worth a damn.”

Then they ask me, “How you doing?” I always tell them, “I am fantastic, but I’ll get better,” or “I haven’t had a bad day in my life, and I ain’t going to let [anyone] mess this one up either.” In doing so, I often get some laughter and a response that I just made their day.

However, I think this attitude does more than that. It makes my day! In fact, I think I have brainwashed myself into feeling good, even though I face the same problems (or worse in many cases) than the person I am talking to on the other end of the line. Guess what? I am fine with this brainwashing thing. Do you know why? I know I am doing everything I can to make my businesses successful by doing business honestly, and it keeps me sleeping well at night, thus reducing more stress. If, for some reason, my company doesn’t survive, I know I can get up, dust myself off, and ride again.

Based on an article I once read, let’s look at the true list of worries that add to health problems and heart failure on a percentage basis:

  • 40 percent of worries are about things that never happen
  • 30 percent are about things you cannot change
  • 12 percent is worrying needlessly about your health
  • 10 percent is worrying about petty and unimportant things
  • And, finally, only 8 percent of what you worry about is real problems.
Of course, we have to be concerned with the most important things in our business, but let’s stay focused on those, rather than the 92 percent of things that are out of our control. So, is the recession one of the 8 percent of the things we can control? I don’t think so! That’s why I say not to worry about the recession. Don’t become like my buddy, who is so negative that no one really wants to spend time with him. Just keep digging and digging, while doing what is right with a good attitude. If you do this, regardless of how things turn out for you, you will end up much happier and much healthier in the end.


About the Author

Damian Lang is a mason contractor in southeast Ohio and inventor of many labor saving masonry systems and products. Lang has served as the Marketing Committee Chairman for the Mason Contractors Association of America. He is also author of the book Rewarding and Challenging Employees for Profits in Masonry. To network with Damian on contractor tips or tips you have and would like published, contact him at dlang@langmasonry.com or 740-749-3512.

 

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