As the economic and political cliff edge draws nearer, we all have our own view on whether the nation is about to plummet, or take off and soar high into the proverbial sky. In the meantime it is difficult to escape a prevailing background noise that is largely negative in tone. It might be expressions of impending doom and gloom, or it may be the expressions of political defiance and resolute steadfastness in the face of an ‘aggressor’.
Either way it is something of a struggle to find anything to lift the spirits or raise our levels of positivity, if we take the lead from the big stories and the main headlines.
However, I do think that positivity and optimism can be found if we step back from the narrow focus and look hard at the bigger picture which is, paradoxically, to be found all around us in the smaller details of what is happening in the real world on a day to day, unsung basis.
I have little doubt that readers of this publication will know that while big businesses and big companies grab the headlines, the backbone of the UK economy is the thousands of smaller businesses that few people, other than those directly involved in them, will ever have heard of. Those businesses will be working day in day out for their customers and each providing a living for their owners and perhaps a few employees and their families.
They will continue to do this regardless of the Brexit outcome, or indeed other upheavals. Margins and profit may, or may not, be squeezed or improved, but one way or another the majority of those businesses will continue in some shape or form. Perhaps that will be out of necessity, but also it will be because the industrious and entrepreneurial spirit will still be there, although it might be slightly re-focussed.
As they do so those businesses will not only provide jobs but a great many of them will support local (and national) charities. Many will do so not because they have a specific CSR agenda as such, but because they believe it is the right thing to do on a personal and human level.
Recently I was fortunate enough to join 12,500 others in running in the Brighton Marathon.
On the same day 2,500 ran the 10k event and 2,500 children took part in Mini-Miles. In the Marathon people ran, slogged and dragged themselves round 26.2 miles with thousands of supporters cheering them on. Some supporters were shouting for friends but many held banners simply reading “keep going random stranger”. In that one event people unselfishly raised an estimated £7.5 million.
There were other events that weekend, and no doubt there are many more every other weekend. Next time we see a grim news headline, I suggest we mentally substitute a story of ordinary people doing good things to help other people.