It Is Time To Encourage Your Pet Optimist

Blog #316 – Reading time: about 1.6 minutes

Your pet optimist overpowering your pet pessimist

It’s open season on negativity. Or so it seems. Which is why I stopped paying attention to the (bad) news.

Did you know that not following the news does not change the news? But it changes the world. Your world.

Three weeks ago I decided “enough already” with all the bad news. I deleted news apps from my phone and from my browser bookmarks. Surprise, surprise. The sun came up, and the sun went down. And with every sunrise, my mood improved. My world, my immediate world, at this moment, is sunny side up.

Bad news is still out there somewhere. No doubt. But here’s the thing you already know to be true. Bad news has either happened and is now in the past. Or it might happen and is still in the future.

Unless it is happening to me in this moment, the past and the future do not exist. So why worry?

By the way, I still get the news. I get the news I need when I need to know it. Via the grapevine. The difference is I now choose to let the news find me. I don’t scroll mindlessly searching for it.

Am I a pessimist for assuming all news is bad, and thus better avoided? Or am I an optimist believing that no news is good news?

Once upon a time, I suggested to my clients and readers that we should encourage our pet pessimists. Why should we? Because pessimists enhance decision making by balancing overconfident optimists. (You can read that post here: “Encourage your pet pessimist.”)

Now I ask you to do the opposite. Encourage your pet optimist. They are in short supply.

Do you have a pet optimist at work? Every organization needs at least one. Here’s how to encourage your pet optimist:

  • Apologize to your optimists for all those times when you played Little Boy Blue to their Little Miss Sunshine.
  • Then ask for their help. Explain that you realize how badly we all need a fully functioning, happy face at work. Someone who knows the art of picking people up and getting them back to work, energized, and believing in a better tomorrow… no, not tomorrow. In a better today.

Admit it. You need help. Trying to be the strong one has drained and exhausted you. You’ve become a pessimistic leader, a walking, talking oxymoron.

It shows.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

(Pessimistic leader is an oxymoron? Yes. Leadership is, by design, about “inspiring visions” and “better tomorrows.” We can do “woe is me” all on our own. No leader required.)

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