First Thing – Realists are Not Optimists

Most people don't want to be labeled as a pessimist, even if it is true.

It has been my experience that some people focus and dwell on the negative things as a habit or by nature.

When you are talking to them and feel the conversation is going into negative or blaming territory, you may be tempted to call them out; "why are you being so negative?" or "be patient things will get better", etc.

Someone who is an optimist by nature (temporary deviation) will pause, admit they are being overly negative, and then immediately brighten up the conversation.

On the other spectrum, you will get a response like "I am just being realistic".

My experience to date… if someone start off a thread of conversation with a statement like that they are about to rain on your parade big time.

Let's call a spade a spade. Realists are just putting a nicer label on their behavior; pessimism.

Reality is the way things really are: neither negative or positive. Very few people can identify reality because we all look at the world through our own filters.

Blind Optimism or Overconfidence

You can also be overly optimistic too. This can be related to:

  • Overconfidence or inflated opinion of your actual skills (Seth Godin calls this Self Delusion),
  • Blindness to the risks involved in doing something (dare devil or gambler),
  • Unwillingness to do the hard work required to actually succeed (wanting to be an overnight success).

Attracting Talented People

Who would you rather work with or for?

This is actually quite important as most great businesses need to attract and retain talented people to grow and thrive.

Your Business Is Sales

To really thrive in sales either you need to be the only solution out there that customers need or you need to sell your vision of a better future to you clients.

It is this hope for a better future that I think makes great sales people. Sales is also about building long-term relationships with "people". Organizations don't buy, people in the organization do.

I look at investors in a similar camp as customers. They have something you want (money and advice) and you are selling your company's future potential to get it.

When you are hiring you are selling your company as a good place to work, etc.

When you are starting up and don't have a long-term track record, selling a better future is all you have.

Manifesting Your Vision

In order to create something new you need a strong vision and the ability to implement it. According to the book "Quiet Leadership" by David Rock it is far easier to learn new habits and skills if you have lots of positive reinforcement. Negative thinking strengthens old "bad" patterns.


Entrepreneurs are creators of something new. They take a business from concept to reality… they are builders.

To be a great entrepreneur or leader you need to be able to sell a better future. This takes a healthy dose of optimism, faith and hard work. Great entrepreneurs also need to have a health grounding in the world they will operate. Sometimes this can be the real world and sometimes it is the world they create.

The good news is that unless you are in either extreme, you can likely change enough to succeed.

That is the true lesson; great entrepreneurs see a better future for their business AND themselves.