American revival and the miserables

I once heard that Judy Garland's mother, Ethel, kept a scrapbook. It was full of stories she had clipped from the newspaper on train wrecks, fires and other man-made calamities. Apparently, Ethel would read through the book when she was having a bad day.

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She said that reminding herself of others’ woes made her feel less overwhelmed, even fortunate.

Let me get this straight.

When she couldn’t change the facts of her circumstance, she sought relief by changing the context.

It’s true. Context can change any story, business decision, even life choice.

Let’s take the problems facing the U.S. economy-chronically-high unemployment, an over-indebted federal government, clenched capital markets-none of which will change any time soon, and all of which are morphing the way we do business, and even living our lives.

On the other hand, we could open our scrapbook and look at Cypress. Or Europe. Or China.

While growing, China is still only a fifth of our GDP with an added dose of corruption, pollution and inefficient, state-run systems.

Don’t you feel better?

No?

Then try the MHP method.

Open the pages of our magazine and discover the seeds of life still fighting for root across this great U.S. landscape.

We are, after all, still a country seeded by tenacity and fight, one that used the “tension” of adversity to form richness and purpose (“Use temptation to strengthen willpower“).

Nothing was handed to our founders except harsh winters, starvation and hard labor. Life was tough.

We will have our days of misery. Everyone does. But there remain hot spots of prosperity and entrepreneurial drive with which we should fill our minds and hearts, and build upon. It’s not just for context, but for the strategy and inspiration to change the facts of our circumstance.

As you read the pages ahead, look around the room. See who’s pulling on their bootstraps, even in this wild bronco of an economy. There’s the big Texas oil boom and a housing crunch just begging to be addressed (“Boomtown big“). New construction may limp, but conversions have become the mother of invention (“Adapt and reuse“). There’s also an up and coming industry aspiring to infuse multifamily with revenue through sustainability and energy efficiency (“Multifamily: a $3.4 billion energy efficiency opportunity“).

Relief may come in context. But that’s not how we roll in the U.S. We are thinkers and problem solvers and fighters. And this issue is a little scrapbook of how we get it done.