[Advice] Nostalgia and Disposable Income

When a town economy runs on the fuel of nostalgia for an imagined past, and relies on a pool of people with disposable income who are willing to spend money to remember the past, the town is in trouble when either the nostalgia or income run out.

This is not anything new in the culture of towns away from bustling city centers globally, but the phenomenon will become more acutely noticed in the coming years, as nostalgia is abandoned in favor of the new and the shiny (you can’t compete with that) and as disposable income becomes less evenly distributed and less disposable.

And if you don’t think that it can happen in the 21st century, well, there are gold and silver “rush” mining towns throughout the American West that do a brisk business in seasonal tourism as ghost towns.

And it only took them 100 years to get there.

HIT Piece 12.15.2015

Two topic areas that have been popping up a lot for me lately in business conversations:

  • “People” lack follow-up
  • “People” lack initiative.

The first lament goes something like this: “I (the business person in question) reached out to “so and so” (another business person) and they didn’t get back to me. And I called them and called them and they didn’t show up or return my phone calls or emails.”

This first has happened to me more times than I can count with potential clients, clients I’ve actually had meetings with, and with clients I’m attempting to do a deal with.

The second lament goes something like this: “ ‘People’ [and then imagine someone sucking air through their teeth, squinting their eyes and sighing all at the same time] just don’t have the initiative or drive around here to do what you’re asking them to do. What you’re proposing won’t work…”

The second issue of initiative I chalk up to the fact that very few people have a motor driving them into business, and the difference between people who are “making it” and people who “aren’t” is the presence (or absence) of said motor.

These two laments I almost never hear from people in geographic areas that are cities, or even suburbs of cities. But in rural areas, small towns, or even villages consolidated across a major highway, you will sit down with the few people in town who are able to follow-up and have initiative and I will hear these two laments.

The future is coming and it’s not going to arrive everywhere all at the same time. The future is going to be driven by the people who have initiative first, and then second by the people who have the desire and the courage to follow-up. Without reassurance, without lack of faith, without a competitive desire to “get what’s theirs” first.

The income gap between the wealthy and everyone else is definitely something to think about overcoming; but the initiative and follow-up gap is something no one (outside of private conversations) is even thinking about shifting at mass.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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