We generally adopt a posture of optimism or pessimism as a response (or reaction) to external events. We see how things are unfolding and make a decision about what to expect. We feel like we need to justify our response based on the facts on the ground.
But that doesn’t actually explain why different people, similarly informed, might adopt an optimistic mood or a pessimistic one.
In fact, that mood is a choice. And it’s one that determines how we’ll behave.
Optimism is a tool that permits us to solve problems more effectively. If used wisely, it brings enthusiasm, inspiration and hope to projects that benefit from them.
[And pessimism is a tool as well–it can help you with budgeting, scheduling and other projects. If it works for you, that’s great. Choose your tools wisely.]
As a universal default, either mood will certainly lead to misguided energy and poor decisions. But if we can be thoughtful about optimism as a tactic, the focus and energy it brings can solve problems that others might simply walk away from.
Our pessimism might not be an accurate diagnosis of the past. It might simply be a tool we’re using to produce a future we’re not happy with.
*Originally published on sethsblog.
Seth Godin has written eighteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership, and, most of all, changing everything.
Image courtesy of Alexander Suhorucov.