These Two Will Pass

George Foster, CEO

As you get older you learn to adapt the Persian adage that “this too will pass” indicating that all conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. Never has this been truer than following the years-old oil and gas slump or the recent election.

These two will pass.

Despite low oil and gas prices, there are opportunities to grow in the oil and gas industry with foresight and creativity. One of my favorite oil and gas quotes is from Parke Atherton Dickey, the legendary geologist, dedicated researcher and inspiring educator. In assessing the lot of oil and gas exploration (or lack of) he said:

"We usually find gas in new places with old ideas. Sometimes, also, we find gas in an old place with a new idea, but we seldom find much gas in an old place with an old idea. Several times in the past we have thought that we were running out of gas, whereas actually we were only running out of ideas."       

With oil prices hovering in the mid-40s per barrel and gas at 2.6 MMBtu you aren’t going to drill your way to prosperity without doing things more cost effectively and creatively. It’s going to be accomplished with fresh ideas as Dickey opined – drilling cheaper, faster and safer.

Another long-time oilman, Paul Hilliard of Badger Oil (Life at 90, Paul Hilliard Looks Ahead) has been in the oil and gas business for five decades. The 90-year-old Hilliard, who went through the Arab Oil Embargo and the turbulent ‘80s has a pragmatic view of the industry. “Sometimes you’re the fireplug; sometimes you’re the dog.”

He looks to the future with hope, despite his age, so how can we do less. Hilliard likes to quote Proverbs 12:25 — “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” He adds, “Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow, a promissory note. Today is cash in hand.”

While Hilliard is optimistic, there are a bunch of folks unhappy about the recent presidential election (as well as a bunch more thrilled with the results). It doesn’t matter which side you were on during the election; the sun will come up tomorrow. There’s hope.

For those feeling no hope (even though a new President has yet to be inaugurated, pick a new cabinet or pass a law) and may need a therapy dog (Distraught Students Get Therapy Dogs) here are four tricks to take control of your catastrophic thoughts: from Ron Breazeale, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Portland, Maine:

  • Identify your thought as “catastrophic.” Recognize that what you’re thinking about is extremely unlikely to happen—think seriously about the realistic odds. Mass deportations or you’ll lose your healthcare, for example, are possible, but they aren’t likely.
  • Think about the more likely scenario. Force yourself to come up with other potential scenarios—ones that are much more likely to happen. With the above example, consider that Congress will be involved in the immigration issue and that even President Trump has said he wants to take care of pre-existing conditions and extended healthcare for young adults. Then tell yourself that chances are that one of these “more likely” scenarios will take place. The more that you consciously force yourself to do this, the more likely you are to start thinking rationally automatically when you’re stressed.
  • Take action (when possible). In certain cases, there’s an easy way to disprove your catastrophic thoughts and confirm a “more likely” reason for your thinking. Talk to someone whose opinion you respect and will give you an objective viewpoint. But here’s an important part of this step: Make only one call. If you call him or her and they don’t pick up; or make calls to 10 other people then skip this step altogether, because it’ll only inflate your worries.
  • Dig deeper. Ask yourself if the election results are what you’re really worried about. Your anxiety might be manifesting itself as stress about the election, but it actually may be stemming from a separate problem altogether.

    For example, maybe you’re seriously scared because you’re struggling financially…or maybe you’re panicked about a serious health diagnosis…or maybe you’re not performing well at work. If you figure out the root problem and then take steps to solve that problem, you might find that your catastrophic thinking dissipates.

  • Get extra help, if needed. If the tips above don’t curtail your catastrophic thinking and it’s interfering with your life in a serious way—perhaps it keeps you from sleeping or hurts your relationships, for example—then it’s time to seek help from a psychologist who uses cognitive behavioral therapy. Find one near you by checking the American Psychological Association and ask him or her, “Can you help me with catastrophic thinking?”
Finally, smile. Let me end on a positive note from one of my favorite songs Smile. And, it won’t hurt to sing along:
“Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
For you.
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying.
You’ll see that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.”
Our goal at Foster Marketing is to keep you smiling, providing creative, marketing-driven communications helping our clients engage with their customers, build awareness for their products and services and turn prospective customers into buyers. Contact us today to discuss your marketing communications goals for 2017! Happy Thanksgiving!