Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2017

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From the publisher:

The recession is over

You read it here first: Things are getting better. Brighter times are upon us. The recession is over. Done. See ya.

Sure, we’ve been through a long, cold storm, a downturn different and deeper than anything most Americans had ever seen before. And it slammed Nevada harder than most parts of the United States. But the clouds are drifting away; the skies are clearing. Happier days are here again.

Those unemployment reports are yesterday’s news. Tomorrow’s media will report that productivity is up, the essential first step before new employment and hiring. Displaced locals soon will be returning to work.

Been waiting to buy that new home computer you need? Clothes? Furniture? Take the plunge. Don’t go all-out, but buy something. Create a transaction. Spend a little money.

You see, it’s time to visualize economic health.

In case you missed it, there’s a lot of buzz about the power of economic “visualization” recently, even among normally cautious types. I’m hearing it from economists, financial experts, people not known for embracing fads or touchy-feely strategies. They’re saying we need to change some negative thinking that has had us in its grip, an emotional and mental rut that’s smothered us.

To change our thinking, we must picture a different reality, a whole new status quo. We must visualize a normalized economy and behave as though we are in one.

Take it from the queen of visualizers, Jill Koenig, an author, coach and motivational speaker who is sometimes known as the “Goal Guru.”

“Your ability to take your highest goals and continually hold them in your thoughts with passion, excitement and enthusiasm will cause them to become real,” she says. She points to examples of numerous great athletes who visualize performance before the actual games in which they excelled.

Koenig notes that although visualizing takes very little time and effort, it represents the most overlooked component to the process of achievement.

She’s not alone. You hear it everywhere these days. Visualize. Picture success.

Viewers watching the recent NCAA basketball tournament were reminded of the concept of visualization by an excited player from Butler University, after the small Indiana school somehow made it to the Final Four.

“This is what we expected at the beginning of the season,” he said in a postgame interview. The hefty odds against his school actually doing that make for a pretty good testimonial.

Basketball isn’t the same as life, but there’s some more formal sports research that suggests visualization helps confidence and motivation, thereby increasing chances for success.

In one experiment, participants were asked to merely visualize certain athletic routines. Physiologists observed that during this process, the participants showed subtle muscle movements that corresponded to the movement a person would make if he or she were actually engaged in the activity.

One test was using free throws with three groups of students, none of whom had previously practiced visualization. The first group practiced free throws every day for 20 days. The second practiced free throws only on the first day and the 20th day, as did the third group. But members of the third group spent 20 minutes every day visualizing free throws. When they missed a shot in their minds, they mentally practiced making the next one.

When the 20 days ended, researchers measured the percentage of improvement in each group. The group that practiced daily improved 24 percent. The second group showed no improvement. The third group, which practiced visualization but was allowed to shoot free throws only two days, did almost as well as the group that physically practiced.

I first heard about the free-throw research from Richard Davis, president and CEO of U.S. Bank. He’s one of the financial types saying we need to visualize a new economy. He’s a believer.

Nobody is suggesting that free throws will dig us out of this hole. But there is something to be said about the way we look at things, the way this whole economy is intertwined, and the way perceptions seem so crucial to any turnaround.

So with all due respect for ethics, it says here the recession is over. I’m not going to get too crazy with all this, I am just saying I’m done with it. Turned the page. I am visualizing better times, and I’m not going to let anything get in the way.

The recession is over. Tell everyone.

CORRECTION: This column was changed to correct the last name of Richard Davis. | (April 2, 2010)

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