Joe Btfsplk, a character in the cartoon strip Li'l Abner, always appeared with a rain cloud over his head. Pigpen, of the Peanuts strip, moved beneath a perpetual cloud of dust. Marketer and entrepreneur Jonathan Fields suggests we're blinded by our own micro-climates.
Fields writes, "When you watch the weather forecast for San Francisco on TV, you don’t just get the weather for the city, you get different forecasts for the vast variety of micro-climates in and around the city. On any given day, the Mission might be blazing sun, while Haight is cold and cloudy. Mill Valley in Marin might be cold and gray, while Sausalito, two miles away is sunny and warm."
Instead of cursing the cold and gray sky, Fields suggests we change attitudes and altitudes. "What might happen, I began to wonder, if we viewed darkness and challenge more as micro-climates, circumstances that may well blanket our experience and thinking, but are also entirely 'drive-outable,'" he writes.
We all know someone who's stuck in a rut and can't or won't get out. We know someone who's scared of losing a job or a house--or frightened of changes in the workplace or in relationships. Apathy, anger, or fear can smother a person or make lightning shoot from the thundercloud over his or her head. Fields isn't minimizing challenges or suggesting change is easy. He is, however, advocating taking off our blinders long enough to study the lie of the land—and take advantage of it. "What if we assumed the clouds weren’t high in the sky blanketing all the land, but rather low on the ground, engulfing only the small slice of land upon which we stood. And undertook to take whatever action was needed to find, then move into a sunnier place?"
Fields didn't aim his blog post at writers, but writers are prey to the driving rain of doubt. Publishing is in flux. Digital book sales are on the rise. Nothing's the way it was even two years ago.
Grab an umbrella, pack sunscreen, and get proactive. There's better weather out there, but we have to shake off our doubt and fear and look for it.