Jun 122016
 
Halfway Point of 2016

It is halfway through 2016. Are you halfway done on your resolutions? Do you remember where you put the list? It is a great good time to review what you decided to accomplish this year. I believe resolutions are a great tool to replace bad habits with good habits. Changing habits is not easy without daily focus, accountability, and willpower. For that reason, minimalist champion Leo Babauta is right: focus on one habit change at a time. Habits take time to [more…]

Jun 102016
 
Be Original

What makes one person more creative than another is hard to grasp. We all want to have more original ideas that change the world, make things better, or at least get us noticed. But, in practice, you must have the courage to have a lot of bad ideas to have a few great ones. To be an original, you have to put it out there, in the harsh light of public scrutiny. I think the greatest misconception is that most [more…]

Jun 082016
 
Want Fresh Ideas?

I sometimes hear people say that they are out of fresh ideas to overcome a challenge. When I later ask them about how much they read (books in particular), I invariably find that the answer is that they are heads down busy and haven’t cracked a book in months or years. I have yet to find a person that is both a) out of ideas and b) an active, avid reader. I also have noticed that whenever I read, a [more…]

May 232016
 
Food for Thought: Fixing America

Re-uniting the country is a tricky topic these days. Red vs blue seems to be getting worse. Race issues continue to crop up and violence spills out onto the streets. We have a huge group of voters that are sick and tired and want to send Washington a message, no matter the cost. The middle-class is getting squeezed. Jobs continue to vaporize to the dragon of outsourcing. I ran into this short presentation about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that might be [more…]

May 182016
 
Social Media and Political Quagmire

Silicon Valley and the avid users of social media, which is nearly everyone under a certain age, think that social media is great for society. I believe, like any technology, there are negative consequences that few appreciate. What seems clear to me is that social networks — Facebook, Twitter, and the rest — are the key contributor to the political quagmire we see in Washington. There will always be programs that the nation must tackle that will not be popular but necessary. Social [more…]

Apr 072016
 
Commitment to Be Your Best

Over the years, I have often written about the essential requirement to be 100% committed to whatever you are doing. Overcoming adversity demands it, and every one of us will run into plenty of adversity. In my life, I learned this painful lesson as a freshman in college, when — and this is most definitely not my proudest moment — I literally threw away a full ride scholarship because I was not committed to doing my best and doing what [more…]

Apr 032016
 
Ten Great Quotes About Friendship

Success is empty and hollow without sincere, good friendships. The problem of course, is that most friendships are not true lasting friendships; rather, they are shallow friendships of convenience that do not weather the storms, the misunderstandings, the disagreements, the years, or the separations. A friend is not a friend if they only show up when they need your support. As with all worthy pursuits in life, great friendships require optimism and action. To have great friendships, you must invest [more…]

Mar 292016
 
Learn to Do One Extraordinary Trick

Is learning a cool-as-heck trick hard? Probably not — it just takes time and patience and a vision. Click to watch this video: Why not? What’s stopping you? It doesn’t have to be as tech-savvy as Marco’s trick, but why not learn one thing that can amaze kids and adults alike. Life is too short to waste it. I.M. Optimism Man

Mar 102016
 
Big Breakthroughs Matter

We have often faced what seems like impossible problems. Unfortunately, 99.99% of people throw their hands up into the air and believe that impossible is impossible. But are they really impossible? Mike Huckabee, in the recent Republican debate, sounded ‘pie in the sky’ to the 99.99% when he talked about curing the 4 diseases that are the primary expense of U.S. Healthcare, and the extraordinary effect it would have on our nation’s, our world’s financial and personal family outlook. I commend Mike [more…]

Feb 252016
 
The Great Personal Differentiator

Differentiation is important. People decide who they want on their team, who they hire, who they promote, who they buy from, who they associate with, and who they become friends with, based on what they perceive makes a person special and different than the rest. Personal differentiation is driving force behind who gets elected, who a person marries, who succeeds and who flails about. What makes you special? What makes you better than the average guy? What makes you stand [more…]

Feb 212016
 
I want -- is simply not good enough

Almost every conversation I’m engaged in or overhear contains a large number of “I wants…” within. I can’t help but notice that the vast majority of those wants remain unfulfilled for most people. I hear people say that they want to earn more money, but do very little, if anything, to earn more. I hear others say that they want to lose 10 pounds, but the weight stays velcro’ed to their waistlines.  I hear many say they want to find [more…]

Feb 132016
 
The Art of Taking on Risk

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Four words that have survived since the mid-1300’s. Why? Truth thrives. I have often written about the extraordinary opportunities available to all of us. We live at an extraordinary time, a time of fantastic and rapid change, in the best country in world. I believe that the opportunities to achieve whatever one wants to achieve in today’s America are limitless. Yet, I know a lot of people that look at the same things I do and simply [more…]

Jan 242016
 
Prime Time and the Urgency Conspiracy

Time is very valuable. How we invest it, matters. Time is scarce and fleeting, our most precious resource. Unfortunately, most of us choose not to manage our time well. By the very nature of our hectic existence, each of us has very little “prime” time in our daily life. By prime time I mean time where we are at peace but alert, focused, our senses heightened, our thoughts clear and distraction free. In this state, a person is able to [more…]

Jan 152016
 
Never Give In

Life tests us. Life wants to know what we are made of. One simple rule matters most: never give in. Stay true to yourself, your values, your principles, and your beliefs, no matter what. All of us makes decisions about ourselves. In essence, we decide our mental DNA, we design our daily habits, we control our attitudes and our outlook. One person stays gung-ho about life, even when he stumbles or encounters unexpected challenges. He decided to go from one challenge [more…]

Dec 262015
 
The Pursuit

People, especially young people, are predictable when asked what their important goals are in life, goals that specifically will help them achieve happiness. Invariably, money and fame appear at the top of the list. Well, it turns out that there are few comprehensive studies about happiness over a lifetime. Studies are relatively easy to pull off when they only last a few years. Studying people for a lifetime, on the other hand, almost never happens. Here is something extraordinary: a [more…]

Dec 202015
 
Attention Matters

It is all too easy to be distracted and not give your family members all your attention. They are there all the time, right? As Christmas draws near, I would encourage you to consider this thought: I.M. Optimisman PS> Does dinner look like this?  Or does Apple (not the nutritious one) invade the picture?

Dec 102015
 
Best Advice for a Graduating Student

Hindsight is 20/20. When I was asked recently for my best advice to a struggling college student (see previous post), the discussion of finding and picking a starting job when graduating came up as well. Lou Holtz has observed that we should never try to maintain a certain level: as Lou summed it up in this speech, You are either growing or you are dying, there is no middle ground. I believe this is just as true for individuals as [more…]

Dec 072015
 
Win Friends

There are millions and millions of pages written about how to succeed. Yet for all this nuance, fundamentals always matter most. A key aspect to success is making lasting, sincere friendships and influencing people is a positive, optimistic way. Leadership and influence is not just about title — true leadership involves having personal influence that transcends position in an organization. One of the best works written on the fundamentals of this topic is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence [more…]

Nov 272015
 
Stretch your Marketing Mind

The following video is worth watching: it is not about optimism per se, but I have found that if you have your black belt in optimism, nearly everything contributes to your self-chosen outlook. Josh Luber’s talk will expand your thinking and appreciation for limitless possibilities. Human “logic” and cooperation is extraordinary, and the rise of interconnectivity and ‘big data analytics’ networks millions of minds together in surprising ways. If you work in marketing, this presentation is 5-star fascinating. Yes, if you are [more…]

Nov 252015
 
Be Honest: How Many?

As the end of 2015 approaches, how many good ideas did you write down this year? How many did you develop from one-liners into a solid little outline? How many have grown into a short white paper? Albert Einstein observed that imagination is more important than knowledge. Napoleon Hill said first comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The genesis is within your imagination, but imagination must be nurtured and developed into [more…]