I was reminded in the week by another great blog from the Pacific Institute about the issue of (overdoing) optimism.
I am not sure that I was exactly born an optimist or whether it has become my learned response to a number of challenging potentially demotivating events during my life so far. Or perhaps it came from my refusal to accept my mother’s consistent pattern of trying to find the worst possible outcome from almost every situation! Blame Mum – not fair really, but it has taught me a lot about how to organise my thinking.
Now that I have generally developed a strong optimistic bias, the principal criticism that would be levelled back at me would be that I am now way too optimistic: “David, can’t you ever be realistic about something?” My belief about how we look at different situations is that we always have a choice. And in between the stimulus, causing pushing us to react in a particular way, and our actual response, we have the power to think, to decide and determine the best way forward. So why wouldn’t one try and find a positive outcome?
The quality espoused in the Pacific Institute article is one developed and proposed by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. That is the quality of a ‘tough-minded optimism’. This is optimism with a plan and a hard look at the possible downsides, contingencies and worst case scenarios. But also believing that a positive and better result can be achieved.
Tough-minded optimists seek to create successful outcomes. In planning to realise that good outcome, they not only consider the strategy that they are going to deploy but also look at what could go wrong. In the business world where I live, we call this a risk assessment. Once we know the potential pitfalls, we plan to carefully avoid them and / or have plans in place to mitigate these downsides if they occur.
So rather than commit to a fictional outcome driven by whims, fantasies and happy thinking, a motivated plan to achieve takes shape. But make no mistake as well, the process of positively and deliberately believing together with planning to make something good happen is far more powerful than empty hope or effortless despair.
The story of Paradise Rescued is bit-by-bit becoming a case study in tough-minded optimism. The idea that one of the world’s smallest vineyards could be sustainable was fanciful at best. But one optimistic planned strategic step at a time has elevated the vineyard and wine. A deliberate niche focussed marketing plan is building a beautiful proud micro-brand.
Optimism pays big dividends when done right. Tough-minded optimism is the way forward into uncertainty.
David Stannard is the Founder Director of Bordeaux niche winery brand Paradise Rescued and author of two books. David’s second book entitled “It’s not about the Dirt”, is available on amazon.com. In this business story book David shares his #LeaderTips at the end of every chapter.
Paradise Rescued is the 2016 International Business Award Silver Stevie winner for Small Budget Marketing Campaign. Paradise Rescued produces and markets organically produced full varietal Bordeaux Cabernet Franc under the B1ockOne and Cloud9 brands.