In the 80’s, TV’s Dallas brought us the Ewing family from the Lone Star State; a family led by Stetson-wearing JR Ewing whose weekly goal was to make sure that everyone in the family knew exactly who ran things. Incidentally, JR ended up being on the wrong side of a bullet, whilst the world waited with baited breath to see who he’d pushed too far as he battled his way into control of the family firm, writes Dluxe Birmingham & Sollihul’s Business Editor Bart Dalton.
Way before that came the literary figure of aristocrat Ethan Allen Hawley, who had to turn his world upside down to restore his family name to what it once was. Steinbeck’s, The Winter Of Our Discontent, takes us through the tribulations of a man whose goal is to impress the world around him and live up to his social class norms.
From riches to rags and back again is a theme that many people have dwelt on over the last number of years thanks to an economy that has expanded and contracted with frustrating regularity. It’s this desire to return to a golden era of prosperity and good fortune that are at the root of many political changes happening in our world. We live in extraordinary times where planning for our future success is more important than ever, so should we follow the example of our hero Ethan and employ his plan to return himself and his family name to a higher economic class?
Well it involved three steps, all of which were firmly focused on Ethan and to hell with everyone else. First, he robbed a bank; the second part involved turning his illegal immigrant boss over to the authorities, so that he could purchase his store; and the final piece of the puzzle involved taking a very important plot of land away from the town drunk, Ethan’s ex-best friend. Ethan believed that all of his woes were external and that his actions, no matter how heinous, justified the means and to some degree we have looked at things over the past year in the same Ethan-esque way.
If we look at the elections in the US, the Brexit vote, and the way we look at society in general then the old phrase in journalism “If it bleeds it leads” resonates. Overall we are humanly built to not be able to look away from things that are distressing. So how do we break this human instinct?
Practice and a plan!
Let’s break the discontent. The way we can do this is working on one thing at a time. The biggest tool we have to make this all come together is our attitude. You know that I am a huge fan of lists and making action plans. This comes through in my business, my books and classes I run. Almost as much as we love a car crash, Eastenders or a verbal punch up between politicians, we love 3 proven ways to trim your waist line, 4 vegetables that prevent aging and 10 proven ways improve your memory. Let’s look at making the next year better using a combination of some of following.
- Write 2 Thank you notes a week.
- Keep a journal.
- Read a feel good article every day.
- Donate 1 hour of your time to Charity a month.
- Write down one big goal to complete daily. Do it and congratulate yourself.
- Learn a new joke or laugh.
- Remember that other people have agendas too. If yours is beneficial to someone tell them.
- Smile, remember that it is very hard to say anything bad when you smile and it is addictive.
We will leave it at 8 because that is my lucky number! As an American, people love to tell me their views on the world and especially how we are ruining the world with our imperialism and dominating attitude. I just have to sit back and laugh at the sweeping generalisation. This made me look at what makes it so that I could do to make sure that I was not contributing to the depression spiral or get defensive about the conversation. I had to approach with a different slant and it always starts with a smile.
Ethan gets so depressed about the steps he took to get to the top and restore his family name that he feels like he wants to kill himself. There is a ray of hope as his daughter shows no signs of being sad and manipulative like Ethan had to be. He returns to his house from the spot where he was going to end it all to give his daughter the support she needed to keep the family name alive and thriving.
Use some of the tools above or some that you create yourself to make it so that we all have a better year going forward. As the gloom sets in on the rainy season, let’s shine through and bring Summer in the Winter by burning our own bright and powerful tools for breaking through the bad news. No matter who is president or prime minister, whether we are in or out, most of your day to day life won’t change. Stay positive, focus on what you can control and pass a smile around. If you can give this to a family member, an employee, or a neighbour then we will make it better. Steinbeck says so eloquently that we need to help someone else succeed to break away from the negativity that we are drawn to, “Else another light might go out…”
I am looking forward to bringing light to the winter of our discontent.
Bart (B.D.) Dalton Director of Taurus Wealth Management and Author of True Gravity. Passion for helping people maximise wealth. Wealth is the ability to live life in a manner that makes you feel successful and fulfilled. www.taruswealth.co.uk