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Psychological Cycles [Part I]

September 19, 2021

“Winners never quit. Quitters never win.”

Robert is a small business owner. And there is one mantra that he always lives by: “Winners never quit. Quitters never win.”

Robert has been having some trouble. His business has been declining due to trends in online sales from competitors. Robert runs a small hardware store and employs 5 people. He’s fought hard to keep his business open but every year, he sees his sales decline. But “Winners never quit. Quitters never win.”

But this month was the first month he was in the red. He’s kept the health of the business a secret from others. His employees, his family, his wife. As he saw declining sales, he took some time off and pushed forward with a positive attitude for the next month. Hard work and perseverance always pays off. You just need to be patient. “Winners never quit. Quitters never win.”

He began borrowing money for his business so he could keep payroll. It’ll all average out. Some months will be slower than others. He’ll pay it off in time. No need to worry anyone else. He just needs to take a break, ground himself, and push forward. “Winners never quit. Quitters never win.”

The borrowing never stops. He tries to keep his worries to himself because that’s what it means to be a strong leader. He’s been in this business for 30 years. There isn’t a thing he hasn’t seen before. He’s very knowledgeable, friendly, and an asset to the community. Things will turn around eventually. “Winners never quit. Quitters never win.”

What do you think happens to Robert’s business? Does it turn around? Does it go bankrupt?

I didn’t provide a lot of information and that’s on purpose. But the moral of the story isn’t “Winners never quit. Quitters never win.” It’s also not the opposite where I challenge the mantra of never quitting. Rather, I want to point out something that you probably saw on a somewhat subconscious level.

Robert is going through a cycle.

(1) Robert sees declining sales; (2) He keeps it to himself; (3) He persists doing what he does, having faith in his previous experience; and then (1) He continues to see declining sales.

If we repeat this cycle indefinitely, what do you feel is going to happen? I’m trying to touch upon a concept that is really challenging to describe. It’s the idea of cycles. Think about the story of Robert and let’s discuss cycles next week.

Dr. Eric

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