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You Don’t Say?

2011 January 15

          Saying is believing – isn’t that the expression some use? (Okay, it’s Seeing, but close enough.) Others plead, “From your lips to God’s ears.” Or the opposite: Say it ain’t so!

          But talk is cheap. We all know it takes more than talk to make something happen. But we also believe in positive and negative energy, and that it can be generated not just with our words but with our attitudes. It’s why we avoid complainers. And why we shun Debbie Downers and Nervous Nellies in favor of Positive Petes. But incessantly sweet or irrationally sunny types (Pollyannas, if you will) unnerve us, because we’re not interested merely in Happy Talk. We want our upbeat views suffused with just the right amount of realism.

          I’ve long encouraged fellow Michiganders to say good things about our state. Talk up the mitten (and the top hand, too!) – or at least stop putting yourself down. Will it help? Not by itself. But it can’t hurt, right? And I know of plenty of tangible reasons to be optimistic. I’m aware that both longtime and fledgling businesses are hiring new employees to do exciting and innovative and important work. (But even if I weren’t, I wouldn’t make a point of talking about it. And I certainly wouldn’t complain about it. What good would it do merely to complain?)

          Good news begets good news. As positive signs appear, more of us are not only receiving that message but we’re also spreading and acting on it. The Pure Michigan advertising and marketing campaigns are helpful. Governor Snyder’s Reinvent Michigan campaign promise, if bolstered by effective policymaking and fiscal support, offers not just hope but a viable new mission. And the burgeoning Michigan movie industry not only diversifies our local economies but it’s a sexy and self-multiplying industry (think hotels and cabs and restaurants and movie maps and tourist traps). The movie business attracts a great deal of attention, especially among the all-important younger cohort. And it creates its own iconography, which offers a built-in self-advertising advantage.

          So go out and tell about it. Tell it! If we don’t say so, who will?

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