I practice realistic optimism.
There is a part of me that is a radiant optimist. “I carry the sun in my pocket,” I walk on the “sunny side of the street,” I’m “singing in the rain.” I grew up singing the song “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands.”
Another part of me is the lookout in the crow’s nest, forever scanning the horizon for clouds, reefs, pirates, floating debris, you name it.
Still another part of me is “from Missouri,” the eternal show me/prove it skeptic, unwilling to take mission-critical assertions at face value, wanting to delve behind the screen, look under the hood, learn “the rest of the story.”
Yet I still sincerely believe “where there is a will, there is way” and “think you can, think you can’t: you’re right,” and am a firm advocate of an abundance mentality.
How do these diverse points of view fit inside one personality? Three ways:
1) Balance is an important mental skill. (See Scott Peck’s 4th tool of discipline in “The Road Less Traveled” and my blog “Four Tools of Discipline.”)
2) The ability to switch from detail to vision, from tactical to strategic, from 30,000 feet to tree-top level is a valuable skill worth cultivating.
3) Acorns to forest analogy, which is how I reconcile my abundance mentality with the reality of the short-term constraints I face daily.
The analogy is really very simple: I may have but an acorn in my hand in right now, but I know that with stewardship and wise effort, in time I can turn that acorn into an abundant forest.
I am a radiant optimist. I am a practical realist!