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It is a puzzling thing, human behavior.

Often, those in our lives who to see the brighter side of events; those pesky, happy souls who see the the silver lining of the darkest clouds are label as dreamers.

They are not practical.

They are naïve.

They are unwilling to see the reality of the situation.

Funny thing, they are also the lynch pin of the survival of our species.

According to a recent feature in Time magazine found that both neuroscience and social science suggest we, as a species, are actually more optimistic than realistic.  *( June 6, 2011. TALI SHAROT “The Optimism Bias.”)

We envision that things will go well.  That we will succeed. That things will not only be ok, they will be great. Exactly who ever starts a project thinking, “Well this is gonna fail miserably… I’m so excited.”

“To make progress, we need to be able to imagine alternative realities- better ones- and we need to believe e can achieve them. Such faith motivates us to pursue our goals. Optimists in general work longer hours and tend to earn more.”- states Sharlot in the same article.

We need to believe we can achieve our goals. According to the article, a brain that doesn’t expect good results lacks a signal that allows us to learn from our mistakes.

If we expect to fail, we learn nothing from the failure.

When we expect to succeed and then fail. We adjust. We brush off our collectives self and continue on, storing the learning for the next time we are in a similar situation.

So, why is it, we can’t envision a successful economic development program starting at the grass roots level; A thriving business community with good jobs and an engaged community?

How do WE, as a community, brush ourselves off and begin to build again?

I personally believe it stems from thinking we have to do it alone….  Or all at once… Or that we can’t make a mistake.

It becomes too big.  It becomes OVERWHELMING.

So instead of coming together to identify what one thing we can do to get things moving, we do nothing.

We point fingers.

We ridicule those who tried and failed rather than learn from the failure and adjust the plan.

True economic development requires community engagement.

The definition of community is a group of interacting people, living in close proximity who share some common values who have some social cohesion.

Community engagement involves government, service organizations, business leaders, educators, faith leaders, and our neighbors.

EVERYONE has a place at the table.

The answer is not a silver bullet, but rather hundreds of silver BBs aimed in the same direction.

Imagine the possibilities if we came together as a community and identified what we wanted in our community.   And what we were willing to sacrifice to bring it about. What do we have to lose?