Posts tagged with ‘use change’

15 dec

Lessons Learned from the Recession: Getting Better, Getting Stronger

JayForteToday’s tough economic times have forced us to look with greater attention at what we do, the decisions we make, and how we use our resources. Surviving the recession is not just about cutting back – it is about changing how we think about every aspect of our lives to redefine what is truly meaningful, valuable and important.

Everything changes. Life has no guarantees – we get what we get. But we have the capacity to handle what comes our way – including dealing with change. The real issue isn’t the change itself – it is how we use, respond and even welcome change. To be successful in a changing world we must relearn much of what we took for granted; we must become better at inventing, responding, communicating, sharing and staying focused on what is important. There are many lessons learned from this recession – and when learned, we get better and stronger.

In a period of great downs it is easy to focus on the things we are missing, doing without, and are upset about. Or, we can realize that from every tough time, opportunities are generated. It takes a lot of effort to stay optimistic but that is the key to getting better and getting stronger; we must refocus our attitude to hunt for and find the good in every situation instead of fixating on what is lacking or changed.

Committed to remain positive in tough times, I started a list of things that are actually better as we all have dealt with a tough economy, lost jobs and limited cash. And as I started my list, I noticed that with a change of mindset, there was no shortage of great things – even better things – than I had initially thought.

So, I share my list of how life is better in spite of our recession. And if you have found that some things have improved because we had to look deeper into ourselves and become more creative, more connected and more determined, please share them. I’ll keep the list going and hope that others see how to hunt for the good instead of the bad.

As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It really is all about attitude. So if you think life is miserable. It will be. If you think there are reasons to celebrate you’ll find them. I vote for celebrating.

My List – Getting Better, Getting Stronger

• We realize we can’t spend what we don’t have; credit and credit cards are not the same as cash.

• We now spend more time at home, we eat as a family, we are learning to spend time again with each other and talk to each other more.

• Dinner out is now more a treat than a routine.

• Dessert out is as much fun and more affordable than dinner out.

• We do more family events using what we have; we look at photos, remember events and reconnect to our kids, parents, cousins and grandparents, and what to what they remember, share and think.

• Track shoes and a two-mile jog around the neighborhood burns as many calories as a tread mill, stair climber or elliptical stepper at a gym.

• We use our now more limited weekly food money on real food and have eliminated many of the snacks that are not good for us; we are starting to eat healthier.

• We reconnected to our neighbors and learned to share our extra when they did not have enough; we are building our social networks face-to-face.

• We hang up our clothes instead of leaving them on the floor or on the chair; we do less laundry, and we make things last.

• We watch the movies, wear the clothes and play the games we forgot we had; we treasure what we have.

• We waste less food, create less garbage and leave less of a footprint on the planet; we are more aware that supplies of things are limited – and once gone, they may be gone for good.

• We are less fixated on whether we have the newest, shiniest, best or most expensive, in favor having the right things that keep people healthy and safe.

• We drive our cars less, consume less gas and learn about the great things in our neighborhood; in the process we make our cars last a little longer.

• We slow down on the road knowing that it conserves fuel and offers a view of some great things we generally didn’t notice in our rush to get places.

• We spend more time with each other; we rekindle friendships that evaporated when life became too busy to stay in touch.

• We recycle more, go to garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. Bohemian and trendy salvage styles are making a comeback.

• We buy local produce that saves on fuel and gives us healthier things to eat.

• We have learned to extend any meal by adding cans of things we had in the pantry; we invent new family recipes; we use what we have.

• We borrow books and movies from the library instead of buying new ones.

• We spend more time with crayons, glue, paper and a box to make great things and have a great time.

• We are beginning to realize that a gift is truly based on the thought instead of the cash value – and that a flower picked or a handmade card delivered at the right moment creates the right memory.

• We learn how to talk to each other again.

• We get by without 700 cable channels of chatter and stuff.

• We now turn lights off when we are not in a room, reduce the amount of heat or air conditioning and are still fine.

• We live by the rule that for every bag that comes into the house, two must go – one to trash/recycle, one to the needy.

• We buy day-old, discount and reduced-cost foods that help us save money and improve our creativity in the kitchen.

• We now treat things with more respect – a person, book, toy, car or other important thing.

• We take a bike to work. We get our workout, get to work and leave less of a impact on the planet.

• We rent out or share an extra room with someone who can’t afford their house.

• We give all of the clothes that don’t fit or we can’t use to organizations that ensure it gets distributed to those who use them.

• We use coupons and look for the best deals before we buy; we understand what we buy instead of thinking that we’ll throw it out and get another one.

• An afternoon out is now a walk around the neighborhood, time at a park or appreciating nature, architecture, a view or the weather; there doesn’t have to be a purchase to make the afternoon valuable.

Remember how we all came together to deal with the horror of 9/11? We united, became closer and more committed to helping each other out. A tough economy is another wake up call – to remind us of how we must respect each other, our planet and our resources. Societies are built on their unity. When things are tough, it is important to work together to solve, to respond and to help out. How has the recession helped you redefine what and who is important?

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

Posted by Jay Forte on December 15th, 2009 in Diet and Fitness, Family, Finances, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , ,