I'm currently listening to an audiobook by Bob Rotella called How Champions Think: In sports and in life. It is a fascinating read and really breaks down the different components of a successful person's mindset. Rotella starts off by addressing the idea of optimism and the role it plays in a successful person's life. I'd like to discuss optimism a bit in this post and share some of my personal thoughts on this characteristic.
Optimism is defined to be a confidence a person has in a successful outcome. It's a pretty straightforward definition but the implications of whether you posses optimism or not are huge. As we dive further into this post, it will be gut check time for you as I'll ask some hard questions that you will hopefully answer honestly. The first one being "are you a generally optimistic person?"
If your answer to that question is "no" then we can stop right now and know where we need to get working. A person who is not optimistic will never achieve any kind of longstanding success. Notice I said longstanding. Sure there are pessimists that do great things here and there, but being consistent with that level of performance is not likely.
A person that is not optimistic is not confident. Any results or success achieved will be attributed to luck. Optimistic people do not believe in luck. If they do they might say that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Optimistic people are prepared to pounce on any opportunity that come their way in order to achieve their dreams and goals.
An optimistic person does not need to see results and rewards right away. This is a huge asset to anyone trying to achieve anything great. Optimistic people can exercise patience and an understanding that with continued preparation they will get their chance to taste rewards soon enough. This idea is closely tied to my previous blog post on Success vs Rewards of Success (http://goo.gl/Sc9PGb).
So what if you answered yes, and you are an optimistic person, what now? Does this mean that everything will come easy and all of your dreams and goals will fall into your hands? Absolutely not! It will still take an enormous amount of practice and preparation to achieve your goals. The question is, are you willing to put in that hard work necessary to achieve those goals?
In order to win a race or a competition, you need to first be in the position to do so. You cannot win an NBA title if you failed to make the playoffs. You cannot win a field sprint in a bike race if you are 50 wheels back with 200 meters to go. Both of these scenarios require work on the part of the individual(s) in order to have the opportunity to be successful.
As you read this, are you optimistic about something? Can you really see yourself achieving whatever it is you are thinking of, or is it something that would be nice to do but you don't feel that it's for you? Here is how you can answer that question without saying anything, what are you like in practice? Do you attack the opportunities to get better with 100% tenacity or do you simply go through the motions? A person who is not optimistic may show up to practice but only give 80% because "what the use in going all out if I won't get what I want anyways". The person who is optimistic leaves it all on the practice field because they know that by stringing enough of these kinds of days together that they will eventually reap the rewards. Maybe they won't today. Maybe they won't next week or next month. But trust them when they say "I'll get mine soon". That is an optimistic person. That is a future champion.