No time? Listen to it instead
Optimism is our best possible strategy. I’ve become a blatant optimist over the past year, and this has changed my life radically. When I say optimist, I do not mean the always-positive-Mr-sunshine-attitude.
Instead, I want to point toward the tendency to believe in the idea that things work out, eventually. It’s not a complex idea, and so, I won’t take too much of your time with this one.
Perhaps, it is working on the idea of Nudge. Maybe, it’s reading and listening to all sorts of philosophy this year. I’m not sure what changed it, but “it’s going to work out” is my first instinct now. Even if it doesn’t, I know I’ll be taking something from experience.
All that is too cliché, though, but I do have an argument that seemed to convince most people I know for why optimism is better for whatever you’re doing or thinking of.
The Origin of Optimism
Both optimism and optimise stem from the Latin optimus. Optimus means “best” while optimum (which gave rise to the French optimisme, which in turn gave us optimism) means “best thing”.
Those are everyday words anyway, and they are closely related. To get to the best of whatever is possible, you need to believe in the best thing which is, in turn, believing in the best possible future.
Optimism = Optimising
Being an optimist is all about gathering data because you need data to work in the real world.
To create things, you have to be a rational optimist. Rational in the sense that you have to see the world for what it really is. And yet you have to be optimistic about your own capabilities, and your capability to get things done.Naval Ravikant
Let’s assume you’re starting a business, you can keep reading about it or do some fancy degree. However, the best way to see if whatever you have in mind works or not is to start doing it.
Action-oriented mindsets trump preparation all the time.
However, the most significant enemy of an action-oriented mindset is the “what if it fails or doesn’t work out?” that perpetually plagues every call to action.
Still, if you spend some time thinking about it, the conclusion of “I have to try it to find out if it works” isn’t too far off.
However, to get to that, you have to first, with all intent and heart, believe that it will work out. Otherwise, you won’t start.
The Paradox of Optimisation
So, paradoxically, your best bet to get data on whether your idea, plan, business, relationship, career path or whatever else, works is to believe that it does, then try it out with all the heart, and then find what made it not work, if it fails.
It’s a sort of catch-22 because if you don’t start, you won’t get the data, and you won’t start if you don’t believe that it’ll work, and the fact for whether it works or not would come from the data.
So, lie to yourself. Tell yourself it will work out. Then, collect the data. Best-case scenario: it works out from the get-go. That never happens, though. However, when it fails, you now have the data to go to make it work.
Optimism is quite frankly the only option we have for getting the lives we want.
The possibility of things not working out is a funny one. On the one hand, you’re afraid that it won’t work out. On the other, you don’t have any data to say that with surety. If you want to optimise your outcomes, you need data. To get that data, you’ll need to try. To try, you’ll need to tell yourself that whatever you’re thinking of will work out. That’s optimism.
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