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Creating an Optimistic Environment

4 Apr, 2016 By: Steve Weedon, Discover Imaging Products, LTD

If “Pessimism” were useful in business, I would buy a bucket load.  It’s not of course, but wouldn’t it be great if it were?  It’s free and found in abundance.

The problem with people who are pessimistic is that they come along and burst your “optimistic” bubble.  They have a tendency to drain both your enthusiasm and positivity, and we let them; in fact, it’s kind of hard to prevent it from happening.

Do they know something I don’t? That is what runs through one’s mind along with a fear for getting it wrong, losing money or worse, even putting your job at risk, so we listen intently.  

This vs. That

Two things then happen: we either think the pessimist is a jerk who sees our world through tunnel vision, so we walk away with a smirk on our face, or we start to side with him and think he may have a point (this then alters our initial viewpoint).

The trouble is that pessimism is contagious. Why? Because we will seek a second opinion and at this point our future thought process hangs in the balance dependent on “who” we choose for that opinion.

If the second opinion sought does side with the pessimist, your optimistic balloon or bubble deflates entirely.  Negative thoughts take over and the slippery slope to depression sets in. How could you have gotten it so wrong? Why did I not see that? These questions run silently through your mind on an endless loop chiseling away at that confidence leg you stand on, much like a beaver gnawing its way through a tree trunk.

How often does an optimist come up to you being bright and bushy-tailed to tell you why he bounces out of bed an hour before everyone else because he can’t sleep while  opportunities in front of him are so good he has to act ASAP?  No, most of us keep our bright ideas to ourselves, close to our chest, as a precaution of tipping the wink to someone who might become your major competitor.

Recently, I was addressing a large group about the emergence of the mobile worker market and the opportunities that exist for those that can wrap their head around the landscape changes that are occurring.  “Do you know that there are 1.3 Billion mobile workers in the world today?” I said enthusiastically, to end my talk on a high note.

However, one attendee, and there is always one, started to engage with others that the mobile worker period was a fad and would be short lived, and is of no significant importance because it seems his brother was kicked out of his office by his employer to work from home but could not adjust well, not commuting to and fro (and working from a remote office). Surely, the conclusion was, “this fad of working outside an office is to be short lived as employees need the touch and feel of working face-to-face with colleagues within an office environment.” Jerk!  I had to put him down hard to stop the pessimistic contagious disease spreading like a cold virus.

Optimism in business is a pre-requisite. Whoever started a thriving business being pessimistic in nature? Without optimism, how can we recognize a great opportunity when it comes along?

I have learned to be prepared (Scout Motto). Be prepared for everything, but importantly, be prepared to spot an opportunity.

Andy Grove of Intel fame got it right when he said “only the paranoid survive” (it’s a great book), but you can be paranoid without becoming a pessimist and retain your optimism.

Optimism can also be contagious for those working around you that are on your side. It’s the magic glue that binds hearts and minds to the execution of strategies that will lead to success.

Anyone know where I can buy a bucket of optimism?

Steve Weedon is Global CEO of Cartridge World, and a regular contributor to imageSource Mgazine and Recycling Times, among others.

About the Author: Steve Weedon

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