Optimism: (noun [ US] /ˈɑp·təˌmɪz·əm/): the tendency to be hopeful and to emphasize or think of the good part in a situation rather than the bad part, or the feeling that in the future good things are more likely to happen than bad things. —Cambridge Dictionary
We’ve all heard the tired glass-half-empty vs. glass-half-full analogy. Most of us acknowledge, at least from a theoretical standpoint, that it’s better to be an optimist than a pessimist—if for no other reason than that optimistic people tend to be happier. Even so, as Psychology Today admits, the human brain carries a negative bias, and negative news resonates more than positive news.
But here’s a reason to consider overcoming that natural bias: Optimistic people aren’t just happier—they’re also more successful in general. I find this to be true in my practice helping attorneys build their law firms. Those who maintain a positive outlook tend to grow faster and prosper more than those who are caught up with whatever is wrong with their firm.
Why is this?
Belief Leads to Action
Stated simply, when we believe a good outcome is possible in the face of adversity, we naturally make decisions that enable that positive outcome. It’s not so much a “power of the mind” thing as much as it is that our mind empowers us to take action. In this way, we tend to make room for what we believe to be possible.
Optimism Breeds Resilience and Perseverance
Optimism breeds resiliency, which Fast Company says is one of the most important elements in for entrepreneurs who are grow a business. When you’re facing a difficult problem, issue or roadblock with your law firm, at some point you’ll get tired of fighting and you’ll be tempted to give up. An optimist sees past the immediacy of the problem and therefore continues to seek solutions. If you believe a positive outcome is around the corner, you won’t be so quick to throw in the towel.
Optimists See the Bigger Picture
When we’re dealing with growing pains or difficulties in business, it’s very easy to get completely immersed in survival mode—basically putting out one fire after another. Tying in with the previous point, an optimist tends to look beyond the immediate problems because he believes those problems will be resolved. “What will we do on the other side of this problem?” This outlook helps an optimist make choices that ultimately breed long-term success for the firm.
One important point to make: Optimism does not mean simply “positive thinking,” positive emotions or a lack of realism. In fact, going into denial about real problems can get you into real trouble. It’s completely possible, even preferable, to be both an optimist and a pragmatist. As Geoffrey James wrote in Inc.,“A true optimist sees things as they are, visualizes how they might become better, and then takes action to make them so.”
Of course, optimism alone won’t help you become successful, although it will help you stay the course when things get tough. You still need to combine optimism with proven practical strategies for growth, and that’s where we can help. To learn more, call us at (888) 207-2869.