We have a bit of a confidence problem. Or maybe we are a tad overly modest about our successes. Whatever the genesis of the matter, we Hoosiers are too quick to dismiss our own advantages while fully embracing perceived, if not self-inflicted, shortcomings. Sure, it is tough to be the best at everything. And there is more than a fair amount of decent competition. But in most cases, Indiana is solidly in the mix. It could be the 50-mile rule – that notion that all things close to us must be discounted in preference for all things distant. Maybe it is simple human nature.
Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville and other municipalities find their way into the top-10 national lists each year. Could they be better? Maybe. Yet it is not entirely honest to find less value there. Our institutions of higher education — IU, Purdue, Notre Dame — and others might lack the brand appeal of an East Coast address but are routinely generating remarkable advances in science, human thought and even the occasional U.S. Supreme Court justice. What the landscape may lack in visual interest, to some, it makes up for in arable abundance to all. Hoosier farmers produce more by land mass than any other state (eighth in production, 38th in size). Balanced budgets provide security to public sector employees. And companies like local investment management concern Woodley Farra Manion, which was just named the top such firm in the U.S., continue to be iconoclastic. How can it be? With talent harvested from Hamilton, Boone and Marion counties, shouldn’t they be behind firms from further away?
Work hard. Improve every day. Stay humble and always be willing to learn, adapt and innovate. Geography doesn’t dictate intelligence, but it may dictate bias. Buy local and expect the best. It is here for the taking.