Don’t be held back by economic pessimism. Jonathan explains why he thinks your outlook can cost you your future.
Something I’ve been thinking about a bit is, if you want to be really successful, I think you want to be an optimist. Maybe this seems like a little bit of a weird topic, but I think it’s worth hearing. Historically, I don’t think I’ve been an optimist, but recently, or something I’ve noticed over the last year or so, I feel like multiple people have sort of thrown back at me when I’m debating something with them that I’m an optimist. They’re sort of discounting what I am saying because they’re saying, “Well, you’re optimistic,” whether I’m debating something about politics or business or finance or where the world’s going or technology or whatever.
Maybe they’re talking really bad about somebody or some group or some organization and I’m looking at it from a different angle. And so they’ll throw back at me, “Well, you take that position because you’re an optimist,” as in they’re saying, “You’re wrong. You’re probably not right. You’re just ignoring the facts because you’re optimistic.”
However, I have a comment now to one or more people that, if you have not historically been an optimist, you’ve been on the wrong side of history for the last hundred years. Like, I would rather be an optimist because, if you look at the charts on financials, you look at the charts on real estate, you look at the charts on business, you look at the charts on technology improvement, you look at the charts just on societal things such as how many people are starving in the world, how many people have diseases, how many people are illiterate, it is massively, massively, massively getting better like everyday, and it’s speeding up.
So, if you are a pessimist, and you’re betting against everything and you’re betting against the world, then you’re going to make bad investments or no investment or you’ll be afraid to grow your company. Yes, crappy stuff’s going to happen. Yes, we’re going to have another economic downturn. Yes, some really crummy things will happen, and maybe they’ll last for a 10 year period, but, if you are not an optimist, I believe without question you will fall on the wrong side of history and you will not grow a very successful company.
Now, that doesn’t mean you’re not prudent or conservative, but, I look back at my younger years of life, I think I was maybe a little optimistic, but I was a worrier. I worried about stuff. I was sort of fearful on a lot of different things. The only way I’ve gotten out from under that kind of thinking, and I still see some of it in my life with just making investments or being a little too conservative. Yeah, it served me well, and it gives me peace of mind knowing what my comfort level is in terms of risk, and so not overdoing it lets me live in a pretty comfortable, happy life, but it’s also held me back. It’s also cost me a lot of money.
And so I feel like I’ve become more optimistic over life, and I’m becoming more optimistic even in light of all the crummy things that are going on in the world of business and politics and everything else because of a couple things: because I’m constantly reading, because I’m studying smart people, because I’m involved with other smart people that are doing really big things, because I read historical things, because I’m paying attention to what’s happening, because I look at financials, I look at historical charts on businesses, and I can go down the line.
Doing all of that is making me optimistic and more positive. And, I believe that there is a link to the more confident, optimistic and the reduction of worry in my life and getting to a place where it’s like, “You know what? If crap falls apart, I know how to fix it. I’ll deal with it again. The ride’s been sort of fun. Stressful, but fun. I can do it all again.” As I’ve arrived at that, I believe I’ve become more successful, and I believe that I am picking up speed.
The reason I share this with you is, if you find that you’re constantly beat down, frustrated, you’re listening to the politics, you’re listening to financial news, I just don’t know how you build a successful company or one of size. How do you ever get the confidence to go higher when you’re bombarded with news that the world’s getting worse, it’s all going to end, it’s all falling apart, there’s going to be a catastrophe, Yellowstone’s going to blow up, an asteroid’s going to hit, I mean you hear all this insanity that’s just stupid. And, if something horrible happens and we’re all wiped out, well, we didn’t even know we were wiped out. It just happened.
Like what are you going to do about it? There’s nothing you can do about it. If the economy crashes, what are you going to do about it? You can’t really fix it, so the best thing you can possibly do is really know how to be the guy that survives in the downturn and builds the next thing and takes care of his family. When you get to that place, you’re optimistic because you’re confident.
Hopefully, this is of a little bit of value, but it’s something I’m sort of aware of that I’ve become better at, and I think I’ve become happier in the process and more successful in the process. And, I’m just sort of fed up with people throwing it back and saying, “Well, you’re optimistic,” to basically make the argument that my point isn’t valid because I see the good in people or the good in the future or the good in the improvements of technology.
I think, if you want to be successful, don’t fall down on the wrong side of history. Be optimistic. Look for the opportunity. Look for the good. Think tomorrow’s going to be a bigger and better tomorrow, and you’ll be one of the winners. I really believe that. That’s the path I have chosen to follow.