When times are tough, you have to think outside the box if you want to come out on top. With every conscious, principles-based response to each challenge, you dodge another bullet.
Here’s an example of one man who did just that, during the Great Depression:
My friend Glen was visiting with us, and shared a story about his grandfather that is worth repeating. His grandfather was a banker in 1933, and in order to keep depositors from bankrupting the system by withdrawing all their money, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a United States Bank Holiday from March 6 to March 10.
Banks were allowed to reopen when they could prove that the money in their reserves was greater than or equal to the money that had been deposited in. If the banks were unsound they would stay closed or could apply for a government loan in order to keep from declaring bankruptcy. (Wikipedia)
Glen told me, according to his grandfather, that one out of three banks never re-opened.
Upon hearing the announcement that he was required to close his bank, and knowing the fallout that would probably happen from it, he chose to think outside of the box, and be a resourceful problem-solver, instead of shrinking into fear and victimhood. He knew that the declaration itself would create panic for many of his customers, and that when he reopened, there would likely be a run on the money.
The problem became his opportunity. He recognized a need: the people needed peace of mind, even more than they needed their money. So he contacted the top four leaders of women’s church organizations in the community, and asked them to organize a community barbecue to celebrate the holiday.
They were to get everything they needed to put on a feast, and that he would pay for the food if they would prepare and serve it.
It went off without a hitch, and when he opened his doors, nobody asked for their money back, and his bank thrived through the Great Depression.
No matter how bleak things appear to be, you can be resourceful. Look for a need in someone else’s life, and see what you can do to fill the need. Leave everyone you meet with an “impression of increase”. Leave them better than when you found them.
Fear will cause you to do things to perpetuate the problem. Thinking prosperously in the face of fear can inspire you to do things that solve the problem.
Read Portal to Genius (free!) to find out how.
Originally published October 18, 2008