Optimism > Pessimism

“Optimism sounds like a sales pitch. Pessimism sounds like someone trying to help you.” 

Isn’t that the truth?! I just read the quote above in The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. It’s a fascinating book on how we think and behave regarding finances.

It’s no different in my head. Optimism often seems like wishful thinking. Pessimism, however, sounds real and grounded. Two voices telling me opposite stories. Which one is more accurate? I don’t know most of the time. But my guess? Whichever one I feed. 

When I stepped on the basketball court, pessimism felt like the voice of reason — ‘’You sure you belong out here? Just play it safe. Don’t let loose. Don’t risk failure…”  It sounded like the mature approach. It brought a sense of security to an unknown outcome.

Optimism, on the other hand, seemed almost reckless. It told me, “Take risks. Attack the challenge. No one can stop you.” 

Here’s what happened — When I was hesitant and feared the worst, I NEVER played up to my potential. But when I believed in myself and was proactive, I often surprised myself with what I could accomplish.Did I make every shot or always perform well? Of course not. But I gave myself a chance. And I learned that’s over half the battle. 

“Lack of confidence kills more dreams than lack of ability…Talent matters—especially at elite levels—but people talk themselves out of giving their best effort long before talent becomes the limiting factor.” -James Clear

I refuse to let fear direct my decisions. I won’t let doubt cause me to play it small. I don’t want a negative mindset to keep me stagnant.

As Housel writes, pessimism is “intellectually captivating.” But he defines optimism as, “A belief that the odds of a good outcome are in your favor over time, even when there will be setbacks along the way.”

If I don’t believe in a better tomorrow, then why would I ever sacrifice comfort, persevere through difficulty, or take on a new challenge? Optimism isn’t thinking everything will work out well, but it is hoping/expecting/trusting in what’s to come. 

Optimism pushed me harder on the court, and it does the same for me now. Optimism moves me to…

  • Take action
  • Lead with intentionality
  • Adopt a growth mindset
  • Invest in relationships
  • Get off the sidelines and into the game
  • See the potential in people
  • See the opportunity in challenges
  • Pursue things with purpose
  • Try new things
  • Have an abundance mindset

“And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

The best is yet to come…

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