In the business world, headwinds are obstacles that prevent or slow down growth: rising costs, supply-chain malfunctions, and yes, pandemics. Tailwinds, on the other hand, are events or conditions that make progress easier and speed up growth: think favorable interest rates, higher employment and vaccines.

But headwinds aren't necessarily negative. In fact, they're sometimes necessary for success. Take the last time you had to fly somewhere for business, for example. As your plane rolled down the runway, your pilot was likely hoping for a headwind, because it creates greater flow of air over the wings and reduces the ground speed needed for takeoff.

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