Every kind of literature in all languages advocate ‘positive thinking’, which is the means to achieve happiness. Similarly, to achieve success in your business, you sure need to have some healthy degree of optimism because, without it, you wouldn’t even have dared to foray into starting your own business. Optimists are often defined as those who see the glass half full rather than half empty, because they always try to find the good in everything, thus resulting in reduced stress, less anxiety and a motivating approach towards life which the pessimists lack.
However, even though research has proved that positive thinking and optimism has helped humans to have a better quality of life over the years, extreme optimism can sometimes make you turn a blind eye towards reality, especially in regards to business and financial matters. Being too positive would make you look very negative if you refuse to deal with the things going wrong and simply continue pushing the positive outlook beyond the edge of sanity.
Researchers know that there is a flipside to being too optimistic and it can be really bad for the business. It is not wise to keep smiling and hope for good things to happen even when you can see that you are steering too close to the iceberg. And do not confuse risk takers with these kinds of extreme optimists, because although risk takers have a positive outlook that makes them take risks, they embrace reality without taking positivity to the extremes.
Extreme Optimists don’t have Plan B
Business models, economy and environments change rapidly in today’s world and if you believe that everything will turn out good because you have the best idea and best team, then think again. Optimists usually don’t seem to plan for the downsides as they don’t think they will ever need one. If you are facing problems in your industry, business model or even finances, then having a team full of optimists will make you even slower.
Extreme Optimists ignore their own health
Optimists will apply their positivity to business only when they apply it to themselves. Researchers have seen that optimists neglect their health under the pretext that everything will be just fine in the end. They are less inclined towards sleeping well, eating healthy and exercising, which eventually takes a toll on their health. They believe, thinking positive will help them get through with their problems.
So in short, optimism should have some bounds because if you want your business to move in the direction you want, then you need to tackle your extreme optimist attitude that urges you to take up bad bets. Being an optimist is not at all bad, but only when it goes a level higher is when things start to fall apart. It is important to come to grips with the reality so as to stay away from ill-advised decisions and certain kinds of failures. So if you think you are an extreme optimist then you need to embrace the below realities that will put a leash on your wild running optimism.
- It is impossible to make every customer happy: Definitely, we want all the customers to be happy, but unfortunately that is not possible. Simply target to make those customers happy which are necessary for your business’s success. If a customer does not fit into this strategy then let them go, because if you try to chase them then you might not attain your goals.
- Acknowledge your setbacks: Even successful entrepreneurs have been through rough periods and you are no different to There will be setbacks irrespective of how well you strategize and how good you are. While your optimism will not let you lose your control and calm, it is also necessary that you acknowledge these failures and learn from them so as to not repeat the mistakes.
- Know when to fold your cards: It is true that everyone starts the business with the ‘never quitting’ attitude but things don’t always work the way you would want and hence you should know when to quit. If even after 3 years you are not making a profit, then it’s a tell-tale sign that it’s the time to walk away. Your optimism might want you to still stick around, and in very rare chances that might even work, but knowing when to stop betting is crucial not only for you but the business as well.
- Have at least little fear: It may be difficult for an overly positive person to lean into fear, as anxiety is not something that he would think about. Although it is preached to be fearless to be a great entrepreneur, maintaining a healthy dose of fear works well for everyone. It not only makes you think twice and weigh your options, but it also keeps you from rushing into new opportunities. Let the fear guide you wisely without trapping you in its web.
- Watch for your company financials: Don’t be disillusioned by your extreme optimism about the true state of your company finances. Review your finances regularly and also compare them to the previous ones to know where you stand. Pay attention to your sales, revenue, profit and growth patterns to get a clear picture of your business’s reality.
The key here is to maintain a balance between being an optimist and a realist. Sure, positive thinking can get you to places far imagined, but as we have always been told, too much of good is too bad. So don’t let your extreme optimism drive you or your business down the hill, but stay in touch with the reality so that you can make wise decisions.
I'm a self confessed foodie, king of the kitchen, wannabe anthropologist, technology evangelist , curious, inquisitive & experimental entrepreneur at @DigiLands and an adrenaline junkie. Love spending time with my wife & two young children and faulty KitKats that consist purely of solid chocolate.