Besides catching up with my spouse and kids, I try to use some part of each weekend to catch up on my reading. A couple of weekends ago, I found food for thought on the editorial page of Indianapolis Business Journal. As a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana, I try my hardest to stay on top of economic news around the world and especially developments here in our state (as you know if you’ve been a follower of this bankruptcy blog). Knowing all I can about what’s going on helps me give very useful, individualized legal and financial advice to all my bankruptcy clients.

Every so often in my reading, I come across a tidbit of wisdom that isn’t so much news, as it is a new way of viewing the news. That kind of reading helps me as well, because it opens my mind to new approaches to current problems and different ways to view the future. The IBJ editorial was one of those thought-provoking, new-way-to-see-it, kind of articles. It was titled “Pricy fuel isn’t all bad”.

The editorial talked about all the ways in which Hoosiers are “getting with the program”, meaning how they are accepting the unpleasant realities of rising fuel costs, but then striking out to find new opportunities to solve the problem. For example, a $100 million venture capital fund is being started to invest in “clean” technology, meaning alternative energy and “green” (environmentally-friendly) research. When some technologies turned out to be disappointing, in particular corn and soybean based fuels, Indiana research teams went to work on other solutions. An aviation fuel is being made from plant byproducts. Fuels are being made from animal waste. A plant is opening to turn wind into electricity, and Indianapolis Power and Light recently struck a deal to buy wind power. A plant in Greenwood is being completed to make auto parts that improve fuel efficiency in cars. These businesses, plus many others, are creating new jobs in Indiana.

As I processed all this information, the thought that came to my mind was that, when facing challenges, we can choose to channel our thoughts in one of three ways. We can keep avoiding the issue, running from the facts. Second, we can cry and moan to everyone about how terrible things are, throw blame around or, worse, get bogged down in self-blame. Last – and here’s why I found the article inspiring – we can roll up our sleeves and start focusing on the “OK, so now what?” Working every day with folks facing bankruptcy, I know that their choices are almost always these same three. Running away from looming financial issues, whether business or personal or both, doesn’t help solve anybody’s problems. Blaming problems on the economy, on employment problems, on politicians, on partners, or on oneself – none of this helps. Whether it is Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, whether it’s personal bankruptcy or small business bankruptcy, the purpose is offering a fresh start. The real focus needs to be on the future, and on the solution rather than the problems. In other words: “OK, so now what?”