I receive newsletters from James Clear weekly. This week’s edition is too compelling not to amplify his thought. He said:
“Optimists win in the long-run because their miscalculation of how long it will take or how likely it is to succeed motivates them to give it a try.
If you knew how hard it would be and how long it would take in the beginning then you might not try in the first place.
You can’t guarantee success, but you can guarantee failure: never try.”
Pessimists are good at one thing, on the contrary, they “know” exactly how long and what probability of success lies in any adventure. Because of “their knowledge”, they are deprived of ever attempting anything. Invariably, denied also of the likelihood of ever achieving anything. Be an optimist, you have more to gain than being otherwise.
Examining the habit of an optimist
In James Clear quote above, 3 things exemplify an optimist
- They believe they can achieve the impossible in a short period
They may not necessarily achieve it in that short period and in fact, they rarely do. Yet, they still maintain the momentum. As James noted, “If you knew how hard it would be and how long it would take in the beginning then you might not try in the first place.” There is beauty in not having complete knowledge of the process but your eyes must be focused on the end that you envisioned. This is the habit of an optimist.
- They are not sure about the future but they still try
While all gaze is fixated on the end, optimists are still skeptical about the outcome. Except that their skepticism is not enough to push them back from attempting the impossible. Be an optimist.
- They know that doing nothing guarantees failure
Here’s how they think, if I do this, what assurance of success do I have? say 15%.
If I do not do this, what assurance of success do I have? Guaranteed failure!
That’s it for them. They had rather attempt a 15% possibility of success towards a thing dear to them than accept a 100% guaranteed failure for not attempting. Be an optimist.
Given the choice between being an optimist and a pessimist, I urge you to go for the former. The reward from the former is more compelling.
Side note: A pessimist is generally not liked in most settings. While everyone is suggesting how to make something work, a pessimist will be proliferating the “gospel of how it cannot work”. This makes everyone naturally repel working with a pessimist.
We grow by people. People are our reason for success. And if these people repel you, success by natural cause repels you. It’s an endless loop that ends in failure. Optimism is still your best bet.