Keep the Faith
The beginning of a new year is an appropriate time to look ahead and think about the future. People often set goals and make resolutions for the year ahead. I was inspired recently by a book my wife gave me: “Factfulness — Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund.
I think, in general, I’m a very positive person, but my job as an editor and journalist often requires a healthy bit of skepticism. You might be surprised with the amount of “spin” we deal with from all sorts of industry players — from retailers and suppliers to public relations people, consultants and government officials.
The media today focuses so much on the problems we face: global unrest, rising fuel prices, the gap between rich and poor families, the labor shortage and rising labor costs, anti-business government regulation, entitled millennials, the demise of brick-and-mortar stores, the next recession, etc. “Factfulness” reminds us that we live in an amazing time and that things in general are getting better for nearly all of us.
And, more than that, it will make you feel more positive, less stressed and more hopeful as you go about your everyday business and personal lives. The book is not only filled with facts that contradict many commonly held beliefs about impending disaster, but also explains why people focus so much more on the negative and do not see the world as it really is.
After reading the book, I was heartened to see the results of our 17th annual Forecast Study, which shows c-retailers are optimistic about their business prospects for the coming year (see the full study findings in our January issue). In fact, a quarter of retailer respondents to our survey said they think 2019 is going to be their “best year ever.”
That’s how we all should be thinking. Helen Keller said, “No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” Could Jeff Bezos have launched his online book store in 1994 if he was a pessimist?
So, my New Year’s resolution for 2019 — with apologies to Monty Python’s Flying Circus — is this: I will try harder to “always look on the bright side of life.” As we enter this new year, there is a positive vibe throughout the industry, and I’m convinced there’s no better time than now to be an optimist.