I know, I know: can there be a more ultimate cliché than “America runs on optimism”? I’m sure more than few truckers would roll their eyes reading that string of four words.
Yet I also believe a large majority would more than likely nod their heads quietly in agreement. I mean, trucking is a business that NEEDS optimism, just as much as diesel, tires, gearboxes and above all freight.
A driver gets a load over here and must bring it over there – and deliver it on time despite whatever gets thrown in his or her path, be it foul weather, traffic congestion, a flat tire, you name it.
Drivers more than anyone else on the road exude optimism – the “can do” attitude at the heart of the American spirit. Any trucker I’ve ever talked to has always shared a tale of “the load that went bad” and how they corrected the situation … followed by them going right back to a dock somewhere to hitch up to yet another trailer for yet another haul.
That’s not to say truck drivers—much less dispatchers, shop technicians, even the executives in the corner suite – don’t get as gloomy and grumpy as any other human on the planet. It’s just that, at the end of a bad freight day, many seem to give themselves a shake as if to say, “Well that’s over so it can’t get any worse,” and prepare to pilot their big rig down the asphalt once again.
What sparked my soliloquy (if it can be called that) on trucking optimism are some of the combined results revealed by the Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor over the past three years – a series of surveys polling a representative statistical sample of 1,000 to 1,200 Americans to try and uncover their take concerning the continued economic turmoil affecting the U.S.
Surprisingly – but actually not so surprising to me – most of the Americans polled in this survey(conducted for Allstate and the National Journal by Ed Reilly and Jeremy Ruch of FTI Strategic Communications by the way) remain decidedly upbeat, even as they struggle to pay bills and worry about their financial future.
In short, despite the tough times, they’ve tightened their belts, wedged their feet a little deeper in the earth, and are prepared to just keep on rolling with the punches:
If all of that above, taken together, doesn’t represent some serious optimism, I don’t know what does. And it’s that kind of positive thinking keeps our nation pulling forward, pressing down on the accelerator and shifting the gears upward towards a better tomorrow.