Optimism in work
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Since 2008, we’ve been shrouded by recession and uncertainty, which brings us down, making us feel pessimistic and hopeless about everything and everyone. Bad news happens… and at times, it seems it leaves little room for being positive. No doubt, the situation is nothing to write home about, but there are also many people and companies that are doing well. What’s more, sulking in a corner complaining about the situation isn’t going to get us anywhere and help us solve anything.
Before starting to talk about optimism, I’d like to talk about humor. Although it may seen rather trivial initially, having a sense of humor is more important that it appears. It may see a little trivial because some people associate humor with not being very serious (or maybe we need make a more suitable comparison) but being serious is not the same as being boring. You can be extremely serious and great fun at the same time. The apparent contradiction disappears if you really consider what each means.
Taking things with a sense of humor means giving importance to the things that are important, relativizing and being capable of looking at things from another perspective. In other words, what we really mean is “not taking ourselves too seriously”. Bring this idea to intelligent optimism, it means being aware of a situation, but in spite of all the difficulties, it’s about trying to find ways out. Not becoming obsessed with what is not working, but as the authors of Cambia el chip (in Spanish) point out, it’s about paying attention to that is working, no matter how small it is: the positive exception, those small gestures that change things, those small things that can even change the world.
Intelligent optimism (in Spanish) is not a dull, naif approach to life, but being convinced about our own abilities and resources. Maybe things don’t turn out exactly how we had planned, but we’ll still find a way of moving forward. We may have to stray off the initial path or even change the goal. We may even have to give up some of our expectations, but we won’t give up on trying. A quote from Herodotus comes to mind here, which the El economista observador (in Spanish) always quotes in his Spanish blog. It goes: The destiny of man is in his own soul.
These people, intelligent optimists, are ideal colleagues both in work and in life. Although it may come easier to some people than others, we can all be a bit more optimistic if we work on it, if we are capable of focusing our efforts and attention on the things that we can change. For this reason, why not start 2012 with that proactive attitude to find what you are looking for? With the spirit of taking things step by step. With the desire to fix anything necessary. And above all, with the urge to laugh loudly.