I wrote this piece just before the 2012 Olympic Games opened in London. I had been reading the English (And other nations) press and its doubts and fears about the upcoming test of our ability to deliver as a country. I find that we are coming full circle as 2019 looms with impending embarrassment, loss and catastrophe as Brexit approaches. I am not for an instant, suggesting that the games and the separation from the EU are comparable. What I am fascinated by, is our approach and our attitude to both.
I have decided that I am an eternal optimist!
I was an optimist before...but now I have made my mind up, that this is to be a permanent state for me...from here on in. My reasoning is as straight-forward as it is compelling and I’ll be happy to explain the thinking behind the decision.
In fact...I’ll be happy to do anything from now. (I’m an eternal optimist.)
Last week I was working with a client. Keiron Gallimore is the head of a fast growing and dynamic organisation called TXM, or The Extra Mile as its full title proclaims its mission. Gallimore is a lively, energetic man who has a smiley expression that often hints of mischief! He is a sharp thinker and a fun character and both he and his people function very happily at high speed.
Keiron is still an optimist. I was reminded of this as I thought back over working with him some six years earlier as the London Olympic Games approached us. We were discussing the future and I mentioned the potential of a new recession that many are predicting as inevitable in 2013.
Keiron listened and acknowledged my point and then moved on without so much as a blink, to something far more exciting and engaging. His plans for the future and the fantastic opportunities that were unfolding for him and his guys at that very moment! What was so inspiring about his comments were the immediacy of the excitement and the acknowledgement of the present tense and not just a hope for the future. He was so engaged that he didn’t really have a mind for the warning I brought regarding next year’s potential recession!
As I mentioned, before I decided to be eternal, I was already an optimist. I know how powerful optimism is and how it can bring massive results. I’ve been coaching the principle for over thirty years! I invite you to try it...and once you’ve tried it, I invite you to practice optimism, for the following reasons:
Optimists are way above the average person in terms of being...:
well-balanced…this list goes on and on.
And please don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is an excerpt from a self-help article!
If you need hard proof, please follow the work of Shawn Achor, an expert in positive psychology and the CEO of Aspirant, a Cambridge Massachusetts based consulting firm which researches positive outliers—people who are well above average—to understand where human potential, success, and happiness intersect. Achor is also the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures in Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar's class "Positive Psychology," the most popular class at Harvard.
The great thing about optimism is...it can be practiced and learned. We can start small and gradually build up until we not only find the good in people and situations...but also look for the best, even before it’s there!
For the sceptical and cynical amongst you... consider this: You can be as challenging and questioning and as suspicious as you wish, but when you do decide to make your mind up about anything, you can then choose to be optimistic or pessimistic about it. Whatever is happening around you can be viewed differently when you make your own mind up about which lens you look through! Is it the lens of the optimist...or the lens of the pessimist?
Here’s the view of Rupert Stadler at Audi, in a clip from the U.K’s Daily Telegraph’s motoring section: 30th July 2012...
But then Audi isn't doing this recession as others are. Last year it sold a record number of cars and expects to do so again in 2009, its centenary. When Rupert Stadler, Audi's chief executive, was asked how his company was preparing for the downturn last autumn, he replied:
"We heard about it, so we had a board meeting and discussed it thoroughly and have decided not to participate."
The point I make is this. There are some good thing and some bad things going on out there right now. Take the Olympic Games as an example. The fact is... it’s going to happen all around you...Great victory and defeat, uplifting and funny moments, followed by real sadness and loss...packed houses and empty seats!
If you want to take the first step toward eternal optimism...Choose the upside for yourself.
Watch the games through the fun lens.
IN THIS WAY...CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL...YOUR OWN ATTITUDE!
Everything else is like the medals...up for grabs.