Exercise power of positive thinking in 2013

Judith McGee, The Daily Record Newswire

2012 has come to a close with enough worrisome news to keep us up at night.

The country is still headed for the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Proposed solutions to the financial mess have only highlighted the fierce political divisions that linger between “us” and “them,” with compelling opinions being voiced by each side.

Predictably, the presidential election did nothing to bring us together – but then it rarely does. Approximately 47.5 percent of the popular votes were cast for the losing candidate, so nearly half of U.S. citizens are bound to feel disillusioned and cynical at best and intensely angry and resentful at worst.

And with the balance of congressional power virtually unchanged, most people hold out little hope for significant forward momentum or positive change. You know the drill.

Elsewhere, the Middle East still is teetering atop an enduring and dangerous powder keg with a short fuse, the threat of terrorism is continuing to create long lines of passengers in stocking feet at airport security checkpoints, the ice caps are melting at an alarming rate, and, well, you can fill in the remaining blanks.

In other words, it’s hard to find a lot to celebrate in the new year. But guess what. If you look beyond the mainstream media, past the fear-mongering headlines that compete for our eyes and ears – and sponsorship dollars – you’ll discover that there are things to celebrate. These things remind us that regular people are still out there performing random acts of kindness and having a positive impact. Here are just a couple of recent stories that might serve as a hopeful reminder:

We’ve all been stunned by graphic videos of police brutality caught on ubiquitous camera phones. But then there is New York City officer Larry DePrimo. Unbeknownst to him, he was also caught on camera, and shocked when the video went viral. There he was, crouched down on a dark street, caught red-handed, placing new warm socks and shoes on the feet of a presumed homeless man, having just purchased them for the man in a nearby store.

And there was the unidentified wealthy Missouri man, posing as “Secret Santa,” handing out $100 bills to many people who had lost everything to Hurricane Sandy. His total giveaway goal for the holiday season: $100,000.

It’s not hard to find “pay it forward” stories, where one act of generosity gets passed on and begins to multiply exponentially. These reports are all over the Internet; all you have to do is look for them. I’m not suggesting that positive thinking is going to stop climate change, end wars, feed and clothe the world, or stabilize the world’s economy. But I keep remembering the things my grandmother told me as I was growing up: walk on the “sunny side of the street” and “look for the silver lining.” These are not just empty platitudes.

For years, experts have been telling us that the thoughts we focus the most attention on are the ones most likely to become self-fulfilling prophecies. Fear is a powerful force, and dwelling on negative thoughts has a way of blocking entry to the very answers being sought, whether they concern money management, business operations or economic survival.

Optimism is as contagious as pessimism, only with much better results. We all need reminders that the human spirit is alive and well. Got a sunny outlook? Pass it on!


Judith McGee is the chairwoman and CEO of McGee Wealth Management Inc., an independent registered investment adviser. She is a co-branch manager of, and offers securities through, Raymond James Financial Services Inc. in Portland. Contact her at 503-597-2222 or judith@mcgeewm.com. Any opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by RJFS or Raymond James. Information herein is from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.