Following the Olympics is an inspirational experience and watching our modern pentathlon winner, Chloe Esposito, on Saturday morning was a classic case in point. However, I have to admit how so many Australians have ignored the unheralded great performer called the Australian economy!
Sure, we have a couple of problems, such as very slow wage rises and business investment has struggled since the mining boom’s spending on expansion petered out. However, we’re still a gold medal economy. And it’s time we started to be proud of it because negative attitudes beget negative results.
I know we cynical Aussies can be a little annoyed at the rah-rah nature of Yanks, but when you see them at the Olympics, in business, when it comes to Hollywood, the TV we watch, and even damn politics, they do it exceptionally.
US photographer, Diane Arbus, who concentrated on marginal people for her subjects, said it all: “Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.”
US motivation speaker Anthony Robbins said when he was young developing his speaking and coaching, he had a money clip where he always kept two one hundred dollar bills on the outside to give him positive reinforcement and to give out a successful image to others when he went to pay someone.
It’s no surprise that Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking and Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People have been two of the greatest selling books of all time and I’d argue that these two American tomes have been predominantly read by, guess who — Americans!
I know we might be disappointed about our showing at Rio but we’re still the 10th best in the world, with a population of 23 million. Great Britain has 64 million, while the US has 319 million.
We won 29 medals while the second-placed Poms won 67, so they’ve got roughly 2.8 times as many people but only beat us 2.3 times for medals. And let’s be honest, since the London Olympics, the Brits’ attitude has become miles more positive. Look at their rugby team, which beat us 3-0 recently. Self-belief is the strongest I’ve seen in the UK in all my life and the athletes have been showing it, though the Brexit decision looks like old Britain raising its ugly head.
The Yanks won 120 medals and an unbelievable 45 gold, while their population is 13 times bigger than ours. Their gold medal win compared to us was only 5.8 times better, while their overall medal win was only 4.1 times better!
What are we whinging about? Why are we feeling so negative?
For crying out loud, the German population number is 80 million — say just under four times bigger — but they won only 42 medals compared to our 29!
Can you see why I get annoyed at the dopes complaining? Sure, we spend a lot on the Olympics but we all enjoyed the coverage, the good vibes we got and the chance to tear up at the likes of the women winning gold in the relay on the first night and a whole lot more.
We need to concentrate on our positives and learn from our negatives.
This is a great country and our economy shows it.
Look at what the Poms’ Financial Times published on July 1 this year: “Australia has notched up a quarter-century without recession, a record that has pushed living standards to among the highest in the world.
The country last suffered a recession in 1991 — the year the Wallabies won their first Rugby World Cup and pop stars Michael Hutchence and Kylie Minogue broke up. Economists say luck and good management have enabled Australia to sidestep global crises, including the 2008 financial crisis, that hobbled other countries.
Australia is on course to surpass the Netherlands’ modern-era record of 26 years of consecutive growth between 1982 and 2008, achieved on the back of its discovery of North Sea oil.”
Why aren’t we writing this? Why aren’t Malcolm and Scott telling this story more often? In the case of Scott Morrison, I clearly didn’t teach him enough about self-promotion!
Right now, US economic growth is 1.2% while we’re at 3.1% and the Poms grew at 2.1%. The Germans — the powerhouse of Europe — could only manage 1.7%.
Do I need to go on? The FT.com said it and I will repeat it: “Australia has notched up a quarter-century without recession, a record that has pushed living standards to among the highest in the world.”
And this will piss off whinging negative types out there: Bloomberg has a story telling us that while China might not be growing as strongly as we’d like, South-East Asian countries are starting to pick up and modernize, which partly explains the improvement in commodity prices. It explains why BHP-Billiton’s share price has gone from $14 to $21.29 since February, despite its record $8.3 billion loss, which was based on a time when commodity prices were lower.
Seriously, we nee people of influence (the PM and Treasurer have to lead the way) to start making us look at the positives. Those two guys have to show us how they will help us fix the negatives out there. Most importantly, they have to encourage self-belief and we Aussies will do the rest.
We’re the 52nd biggest country in the world, the 10th best sporting nation at the Olympics, the 19th in terms of GDP and we’ve punched above our weight in humanity with foreign aid and people on the ground, as well as military terms.
Sure, like all countries, we have problems we must deal with, but we have a lot to be proud of, and it’s up to our leaders, as well as media heavyweights, to help us be proud of who we are and what we have achieved.
And guess what? This self-belief will create more growth for all and opportunities for the successful to help the strugglers out there who need self-belief more than any of us.
Pick up a copy of Peter Switzer's book Join the Rich Club from the Switzer Store today.