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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

A Pirate’s Words

A pirate bounced happily into a bar and sat down for a drink.

The bartender asked, “Gee you look awful, are you feeling okay?”

“I feel fine, why do you ask?,” said the pirate. (Starting to feel a little feverish)

“Well your leg is half missing, you have a wooden peg leg!”

“Arrr that happened a few years back, cannonball came right through the ship and took out me leg.”

The bartender looked down at the pirate’s hand, “But your hand, it’s a hook! How did that happen?”

“Arrr well I was in a sword fight and he got me left hand, but it is fine now.”

“Okay, but how about your eye? You have an eye patch on it!”

“Arrr well just a few days ago I was looking up and a seagull pooped right in me eye.”

The bartender, slightly confused asked, “How did that put out your eye?”

The pirate raised his arm, “It was the first day with the new hook…”

It is amazing to me the power of the words we use every day. Take our pirate in the story above- he felt fine until the bartender kept telling him he looked “awful”. It sometimes seems, as humans, we are fragile- we can go from feeling fine to extremely sick in just a few negative words.

Negative words might seem pretty harmless, but science now shows us how harmful they actually are. When the brain is connected to an MRI scanner (a machine that can measure changes that occur in the brain) simply by flashing the word “NO” for less than one second, you see a sudden release of dozens of stress-producing hormones. These chemicals immediately interrupt the normal functioning of the brain, impairing logic, reason, language processing, and communication.

Just seeing a list of negative words for a few seconds every day can make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse, and the more they focus on them, the more these words can actually affect feelings, emotions, disrupt sleep, and appetite.

All that is great Heath, but what does all this scientific brain wave jargon have to do with Economic Development? Anytime someone creates change people get anxious. Even if it is the most positive change, there will be people against what is being done. People are comforted with the known (even if it is negative) and threatened by the unknown (as they do not know what it will look like).

As we continue to build Tama County’s economy in 2014 we are going to see a great deal of change. And we will find ourselves on the receiving end of the negative words and actions of many. These people will be hell-bent on doing their best to derail whatever progress and/or success we’ve achieved (or strive to achieve). We need to be respectful of their fears and steadfast in our resolve to move forward despite the negativity.

I will leave you with a quote from journalist George F. Will: “We used to be a nation that celebrated people who got things done.  Now we celebrate people who stop things getting done.”


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