Dec 152022

Optimism is the most important fuel of champions, of winning, and of success, especially in the face of change. At one time or another, all of us have chased a goal when, in our hearts, we did not truly believe that we would succeed — and more often, we did not. Nothing is more important that all-in commitment and unwavering belief.

Humans are in a never-ending battle with our own minds, our own anticipation of future events, our memories, and our biases often formed from the opinions of others. Nothing kills more potential triumphs than realism or worse yet, the dark cloud of pessimism. Our own expectations, secret or public, change outcomes.

As I watch the 2022 World Cup, I see vivid examples of belief and doubt, expectations and outside influences. Winning and losing on the world’s largest stage requires more than athleticism and fitness. Coaches who manage to motivate their individual players to give in their all while not doubting themselves are the ones who progress against all odds. Sports and tournaments are amazing microcosms, where events play out in a few weeks that take years in normal life.

No one wins the World Cup, or the Olympics, or the mega sale, or the new amazing job, without unequivocal belief in self.

What is your #1 goal at work? What is your #1 goal at home? What is your #1 goal personally? Or for your longer-term future? What’s your goal for health and fitness? Do you believe that you can and will pull off each goal? Will you be great? If you are not sure, if realism and pessimism are gnawing at your confidence, you will probably falter. Only you can change your own mind — the sooner you do, the better — because the decision-making domino effect matters.

The requirement of optimism is present both in small objectives and in large ones. I once played a round of golf with former NBA guard Derrick Harper. He completely believed he would sink every putt. It was amazing how much better he putted because he believed. I suspect he brought that same verve and belief when he first stepped up to the game commentator microphone.

These lessons matter, because the same is true for you and your goals. If you believe you will wow the audience at the big conference, indeed you will. And the domino effect can accelerate your career. If you believe you will be an amazing dad and spouse, you will be just that. If you believe you will achieve the best shape of your life within 18 months, you just might get there 3 months ahead of schedule.

If you are doubting yourself, take inventory of why. List your positives and your shortcomings. Ink and paper are magical. More often than not, I find new belief that I am indeed, ready, willing, and able to overcome the challenge and surprise all those “realistic” doubting Thomases.

I.M. Optimisman