Optimism is defined as: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. Most of the time we would say that optimism is a good thing. But over and over again I have seen how optimism has gotten people in trouble. It happened to my father. He assumed that one day he would retire and enjoy a happy, healthy and vibrant retirement. Last week Scott wrote a sad story about a 42 year old CEO in India who vigorously exercised but then suddenly passed away leaving behind a wife, 2 very young, kids and a business. I’m sure he went to work that day full of optimism, even though he was extremely sleep deprived.
So why is it that most business plans rarely hit their five year forecast? Why do most people commonly think they are far less likely than their friends or co-workers to have a heart attack? Why do smokers too often believe that they are less likely to develop lung cancer than even most non-smokers? Why do so many talented leaders and executives underestimate the chance of burning out? Why do so many floaters believe that they are swimmers? Why do so many executives believe that what made them successful in the past will make them successful in the future?
The reason is simple - they have unrealistic optimism. So what is unrealistic optimism? It’s having a false sense of hopefulness and confidence about the future without supporting it with the actions and habits to make it happen. In life, as in business, you don’t get credit for knowing what to do - you have to do it! So what have you done today to make your optimism realistic?
By Jogi Rippel
CEO // Founder