May 252013

Are you tired of all the bad news? I am. Between the Eurozone, the newest flu, North Korea’s sabre rattling, the burgeoning national debt, the partisan quagmire in Washington DC, the IRS targeting the Tea party and any organization with the word Patriot in its name, and the tragedy whenever a Kardashian breaks a fingernail, it is hard to watch any evening newscast or even late night parody of the news.

The news media is hopelessly biased, and not just in the liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican kind of way. The media believes one formula sustains and accelerates it’s own financial success: Bad News Sells Newspapers (and drives TV ratings, and Internet banner ads). Sensationalism is the business model.

News Flash: The world — yes the entire world — is rapidly improving.

It is a big story. The problem is that few people realize it. It doesn’t sell ads, so the news conglomerates don’t put in on the menu. Instead, our teleprompted news media talking heads make sure that everyone worries on a daily basis and tunes in at 10 pm.

The big fret goes on, day in and day out, on whether we will have enough to send our kids to college; enough to travel the world like we always wanted to; enough to provide domestic security, defense, health care, and welfare; enough to buy our Lipitor, Crestor, and Norvasc; and enough to retire on. If the collective people were to awaken to all the positives, employers would invest more and hire more, which leads to faster innovation that creates more opportunities, which leads to an economy that grows more, which leads a greater haul of taxes skimmed from the people, which helps our representatives in government right our listing financial ship. Stop fretting.

Below are two related videos regarding some of the greatest news of this decade. Ask yourself why so few know the story — in our online, connected age, not being acutely aware of one of the biggest stories of the decade is clear evidence calling for the indictment of mainstream news companies. Watch both videos and you can’t help but become more optimistic:

Bono focuses on improvements in poverty:

Hans presents world health evidence that is quite clear, and coincidentally supports my overall belief that “whatever gets measure does indeed improve.” Watch this video:

Be optimistic. The world is not ending. We are not running out of power. We are not melting the ice caps. We are getting better. Progress that matters is all around us, but you must proactively look for it, because the media refuses to cover the long-term positive trends in favor of the short-term worries and sensationalism.

I.M. Optimism Man

May 182013

I often make observations regarding long-term issues, goals, and visions. While it is important to be acutely aware of your long-term goals and vision, what really matters today is in fact, today.

Four ingredients will determine if today turns out to be fantastic or frustrating. These four ingredients must be combined and baked within your mind, before you finish that first critical cup of coffee. You can determine if your day will go well before 8 am.

First, decide your attitude. Decide that you will be full of optimism and energy today, before you finish that steaming mug. Zig was right — It really helps to say to yourself “today is going to be a great day.”

Second, choose your top priority mission for this day, without overloading yourself. Pick one strategically important thing to get done, one valuable task that when completed, will result in a really good day. Then specify two other “bonus” items of importance that you would like to finish. Write these three items on your calendar, blocking out the needed time for your top mission.

Third, decide to be a person of decisive, committed action for today. Anticipate that other people’s urgencies will pop up this morning and try to derail your efforts from the primary mission. As you sip that first cup, decide that you will be gracious and warm to all, while undeterred and focused on your top mission. Do whatever is necessary to get started on the mission before lunch. It is best to complete your primary mission before noon, freeing up time for the bonus initiatives in the afternoon.

Fourth, as that first cup runs dry, think through what you will do when you run into a roadblock. Adapt and overcome, with perseverance and tenacity. Too many people run into a roadblock and shelve the mission to gather dust for weeks or months. If your #1 mission for today was deserving of being #1, it deserves your whole-hearted commitment and tenacity. I find that if I think through alternate plans, roadblocks don’t seem like dead-ends but rather simple detours.

Lastly, after dinner, write down on your calendar a short blurb of how your day went. Pale ink is far better than a great memory.

If you use this simple recipe while drinking your first critical cup of coffee for 4 weeks, I believe you will find you will have had a great month. Accomplishing personally important initiatives leads to progress and happiness. Review your calendar entries at the end of the month and you will find peace and optimism. 

It is up to you to make today a fabulous experience. A fabulous life is the product of lots of fabulous days.

I.M. Optimism Man


May 062013

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
— Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo was spot on right when he made this observation.

Those of us that have made a great living with successful professional sales careers know that less is more: finding the one aspect that really matters to the prospect is priceless while pursuing a sale. If you find that one item, professionals don’t dilute it with a fog of other features, functions, and benefits that cloud the decision.

The problem is that simplicity is often difficult to distill. Finding a perfect, clear message that motivates people in just 7 – 10 words is what makes or breaks a pricey highway billboard campaign. There are lots of very expensive television commercials but few communicate as well as this one. Finding a perfect 90 second elevator pitch makes or breaks many budding entrepreneur as they pursue angel or venture cap funding. Finding the simple but powerful theme behind your product line that resonates is often the difference between success (what does BMW stand for?) or failure (what does Saab stand for?).

How can we apply this important concept to our daily lives? We are all selling something all the time, no matter if “it” is a product, a service, our company, our personal capabilities, our kids, or ourselves. The video segment below offers an important clue, an important change of thinking that can have big positive ramifications as to how you approach your messaging.

Simon Sinek has simplified how to sell, how to market, so that all of us can become far more effective. It comes down to focusing on why, first and foremost. Why is all powerful, yet 99% of companies, 99% of people start with what, then how, and finally and often optionally, why. Speeds, feeds, horsepower, megawatts, gigabytes, megahertz, and fiber-connect are not what blows people out of the water and gets them to join your side.

Think differently. Start with why. Think better.

I.M. Optimism Man