Pepper de Callier – Things to Think About – Optimism

“Optimism is what fuels the discovery of solutions to problems.” Anonymous

Optimism is such a misunderstood concept.

Often, when I mention its value in my work, I can see, in my peripheral vision, the rolling of eyes and the nodding of heads in that “Not again!” way. That’s when I smile and say something like, “Optimism in the 21st century may not be what you’re thinking of.” Why? What’s different about optimism today?”

Being optimistic doesn’t mean you walk around smiling at people all day or greet every problem with a cheery attitude and sing-song voice. It all begins with accepting reality. In order to be genuinely, credibly optimistic, one has to appreciate the reality of whatever issue is being addressed, and accept it for what it is. The example I like to use is a leader talking to her team and explaining how difficult this challenge is going to be—acknowledging and accepting it. Otherwise, people would think she was delusional.

Now, she has everyone’s attention and then she paints a picture of what success will look like when the problem is solved. She includes everyone in the process of brainstorming to come up with ideas. Eventually an approach is cobbled together from several different ideas into a plan. Everyone has become a part of creating the solution—they are invested in it. Now, what do we have here? We have a realistic assessment of the problem, we have acknowledgement of its magnitude, we have people included and invested in the solution, all of which gives birth to realistic optimism, 21st century style.

Good luck on your journey!


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