Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where are our Optimists?

SuperHero Weekly Rant

It’s funny how when faced with dire straits there are no optimists to be found.  The reverse is true when money is flowing and times are good.  So, where are those superheroes that even in the face of great odds give us hope and show us how we can flourish?

I don’t know, but I know they live somewhere among us.

I certainly hear many people proclaim they’re optimists.  I hear it from people looking for employment as well as businessmen looking for new customers.  The problem is as they begin to talk about the current market conditions, all I hear are excuses on why they can’t achieve their goals. 

The gripes are almost always the same: “If only I had a bigger severance pay,” “If the economy was different,” “But I can’t take that kind of risk, having kids and wife to tend to,”  “If I only had a million dollars,” “If only customers would let me speak with them.” They go on and on.  This is, in my opinion, the defeatist language of pessimists. 

An optimist’s thoughts, as well as behavior, is substantially different.  The optimist sees any event as just that: an event.  The question then becomes what can be gained from that event.  You see, the optimist still sees opportunities where others see misfortune. 

I’ll demonstrate by giving the counter to each of the gripes above:

Pessimist

Optimist

If only I had a bigger severance pay….

This looks like an opportunity to trim the fat from my personal expenses and live a more sustainable life

If the economy was different….






With the cost cutting everyone’s going through, I can harness my cost-savings skills and keen knowledge of what customers are willing to pay for to find a service or product that’ll help people save money AND make me some!
…But I can’t take that kind of risk, having kids and wife to tend to






I’ll plan my next business when all big business are afraid of taking risks.  I won’t need much capital to start and I can hire resources at a bargain now.  This’ll demonstrate to the kids how and when they can take calculated risks that pay off in the long run
If only I had a million dollars….



How can I find a few hundred dollars then grow it over the next X months/years to get the million dollars I want for my big dream?

You get the idea.  The point is, the economic times, the circumstances, become irrelevant so far as judging personal success.  Every circumstance is just an event that you plan for and act upon.  Notice I didn’t say “react to.”  As an optimist you don’t react.  Your actions are calculated and thought out.  You look at as many angles of a situation as you can given the available information and time.  Then you act and reap the rewards from your calculated risk taking.

Mind you, I’m not saying optimists should ignore circumstances, nor that they shouldn’t empathize with people that are in dire needs.  I just feel that an optimist looks for solutions and opportunities rather than use circumstances as an excuse for accepting the status quo.

I suggest we, as a society, stop talking about a bad economy, lack of funding and opportunities.  Instead, as my mentor Olivia Sethney reminded me tonight, we start right now on being the optimist by focusing on and talking about how we’re going to take advantage of the current events to CREATE OUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES.

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear how you’re demonstrating the optimist within.  Feel free to react below in the Comments section.

P.S. I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m not very good at ranting.  Ranting is such a pessimistic approach.  So, the Wednesday posts may soon change to something like the “Optimist Point of View.” What do you think?