Is Optimism an Underrated Business Skill?

To be successful in whatever you do, you've got to be good at failing. To be good at failing, it helps to be optimistic about taking the next step.

Social entrepreneur Lisa Curtis has an interesting piece up at The Huffington Post about how to be good at failing. Mind you, that doesn't mean she wants to teach readers how to fail more. Rather, she's more concerned with improving the failure experience so that it's seen as a trampoline toward future success. As Bruce Wayne would tell you, the reason we fall is so we can learn to pick ourselves back up. 


One of Curtis' particularly poignant ideas involves optimism:

"Research has long shown that optimists are more successful than pessimists. People who see the glass half full make more money, have happier marriages and live longer than the cynics of the world. Optimism is a particularly important skill for entrepreneurs."

While I'm sure many of you are already questioning optimism as a skill rather than a trait or feeling, perhaps Curtis is on to something here. There exists a school of thought that defines optimism not so much as a tendency but rather an approach for how one deals with adversity. Just as you can teach yourself to engage old problems with new tactics, there shouldn't be any reason why you can't coach yourself to be more positive when faced with challenges.

Curtis explains how optimists who fail tend to look forward to trying again. Pessimists, on the other hand, dismiss their past successes and blame themselves for perceived shortcomings. That's why Curtis says optimists make better entrepreneurs. They're more willing to roll with the punches and keep on fighting. Optimists see failure not as an end, but as a pivot. 

So will re-focusing negative energy and staying positive make you a better businessperson? It'll certainly make you more resilient. And if the old adage is true that we're always better the second time around, it pays to believe in yourself.

Read more at The Huffington Post

Photo credit: Ollyy / Shutterstock

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