Friday, December 18, 2009

No Rose Colored Glasses, PLEASE!

The Optimist’s Perspective

I’d promised to post the results of the 2009 Chapman Economic Forecast here.  However, I realize there are many news sources that have now covered it, including the Orange County Business Journal and the Orange County Register.  I also posted Tweets about it on the day of the event.  You can find the Tweets here.

RoseGlasses Instead, this week I’d like to address a misconception about optimism that I hear about often.  There are those who believe that to be an optimist is to be blind to the facts; that somehow being an optimist means you see the world through rose colored lenses. This view is oft raised by realists and pessimists.

I believe an optimist doesn’t ignore the facts.  In fact, an optimist requires facts in order to reach a conclusion.  An optimist is not blind to circumstances, but chooses to interpret them differently from the realists or the pessimists. 

Reduction in a country’s GDP two or more quarters in a row or an abundance of homes in the market leading to a reduction of home prices and equity are facts that can’t be ignored.  However, an optimist views these as events that can be interpreted to suit a particular need.  In other words, he sees opportunities.  The optimist realizes that long recessions mean that people will change their spending behaviors and look for higher-value, lower-cost goods, even if only for short-term. 

This change in spending means the market is now more open to existing or new products and services that deliver on the higher-value, lower-cost demand.  The optimist may then decide to devise a new product that can meet that need, or change an existing product for the same purpose.  In other words, the optimist takes advantage of the given facts to develop something new in a down economy.  It’s the optimists among us who start new businesses, products, services in such and environment and who are lauded as visionaries five to ten years after their otherwise perceived dismal starts.  It is as a direct result of their efforts that new jobs and markets are created, economies are rejuvenated and people’s lives are mended.

So, no…the optimists don’t ignore reality by wearing rosy colored glasses.  They perceive facts for what they are, but choose to create new opportunities and realities that don’t abide by the rules of the masses, that ignore the pundits and pessimists among us.

What Do You Think?

Please feel free to comment below, no matter what’s your persuasion.

 

Photo Credit: Monica's Dad