Introduction The Art of being and becoming a good Optimist is based on common sense. However, most of us fall into the familiar traps and do not know how to come out of such traps. The simplest traps are those that our friends or relatives lead us to. Or sometimes we ourselves fall into such traps. For example, even where is a mild recession, the climate of doom sets in. People start thinking and talking about the worst of scenarios. All this can be avoided if we find out ways to confront reality and get across to the changing requirements of particular situations.
Be that as it may, it does pay to a) Think only about positives in a given situation b) Ask, "what next?" and "why not?" questions repeatedly c) Learn from the Optimists d) Keep away from the demotivators and e) Keep on working on your strengths.
Think only about positives in a given situation Very recently, I chanced to meet with a very good optimist at a marriage. He was a Fund Manager and a qualified CA, now working for a major Mutual Fund. This group also has a very good bank. He narrated his own story and it was very thrilling. He said that he quit his very good position as Chief of Finance in a very good manufacturing company at Chennai, and wanted to do something "very thrilling". He migrated to Mumbai and took up the job in the year 2006. As it happened, the Manager position was in a Mutual Fund and he had to learn from scratch. He was placed under a superb professional. The 2008 financial crisis of USA sent the Mutual Fund industry for a toss. He had two choices: take a big dip in salary and stay put in Mumbai, or go back to a core finance job. His wife put her on the thinking cap. She came back to Chennai and put their seven-year-old son in a fairly good school, while this gentleman quit the accommodation and went to a bachelor accommodation that was very cheap. He slogged it out with a reduced salary. His schoolteacher wife did not spend a pie on accommodation in Chennai, as she lived with her parents. The boy studied very well. This gentleman did all the learning but did not quit his job. When the recession ended somewhat three years later, he was back to very good times. The boy had learned Hindi and came back to Mumbai. His wife was back again to a good teacher's job. The gentleman was promoted. What did he do to supplement his income? His boss arranged a series of guest lectures in some MBA colleges. This kept him going. The experience helped him too. He is now an adjunct faculty member in a good MBA institute.
All this happened only because of the wife and her ability to see through a problem. Every single problem has a "best under given circumstances" solution. Every single day's experience is vital in a Mutual Fund. If he had quit, he would never have reached the position he is in today. The trick is to stay put and not give up on the learning experiences.
Ask, "what next?" and "why not?" questions repeatedly This is the next logical step, that should immediately follow the first one. Those in Mumbai, even if they are employed as clerks or junior officers in some private sector organization do only one thing: they always invest in shares and do not think twice about the risk involved. If they make money, it is fine. If they lose money, as they did during the Harshad Mehta scam period, that is fine too. The result of their action is based on asking the two vital questions. The first question is "what next?". This spurs the action. The inactivity and pessimism are gone. The next question pertains to the risk involved. The answers lead us to alternate solutions so that we choose the best alternative. This is exactly what the lady in the aforesaid real-world example and experience did. Similarly, the 2008 crisis was a great learning experience for hundreds of marketers who understood how to market goods in rural India. It was said that the savings in rural India came in handy. The spending saved the consumption-driven Indian economy.
Learn from the Optimists Kishore Biyani, the big Basha of Indian retail, as he is called, is one optimist. All his bets are paying off. He has managed a big number of acquisitions. He knows that he may not immediately make money. However, his theory that the discount model always work and his original work at the famous Saravana Stores, Chennai, helped him to hone his skills. Today, the organized retail industry looks up to this man to always understand further learning or his take on the state of the market. However, his success story continues to this day. He has simply quit ventures where he did not make money. Similarly, if we read the experiences of others, we will understand how they think and work. Look at how Mukesh Ambani gets into a market and milks it when the going is very good. Look at how the Mahindra& Mahindra group is going great guns in many markets. Such examples can teach us many lessons. Even if we look around and care to listen to many people like the Chartered Accountant referred to in the above example, we can learn a lot. Jothi Laboratories has managed to eat into the market share of Hindustan Unilever. They come out with innovations such as Ujjala.
Keep away from the demotivatorsThis is as important as what we can learn from the optimists. There have been at least five predictions that the world will be reduced to ashes when the year ends. These pessimistic theories are absolute trash, and they deserve to be treated with the contempt they deserve. Nothing of that sort can happen, even if we happen to have a third world war. Even the mighty USA can no longer bully any nation. Look at North Korea. So, the most pessimistic theories floating around are all based on absurdities. Nothing of that sort will happen.
Now, let us turn to what will happen? Yes. We may have another wave when the voice calls will become totally free. We will pay for only data. For example, the day is not very far off, when for Rs. 299, we will get 5GB data every day. Google will conquer every bit of internet space. It now makes money on the millions of Youtube videos. It may soon eat up every single player, like any competitor to Twitter. The US giants will make machine learning and artificial intelligence find their way to our kitchens and workplaces, like never before. The trick is to run away from the demotivators and the pessimists.
Keep on working on your strengths This is another part of common sense. It does take very little effort. Just ask one question: what am I good at doing? What can I do now to make it even better? These are two questions that can lead to very good answers. For instance, this author cannot do so much of running about now. But he would rather go around and observe common people. And talk to so many people. He is able to get so many clues and so many ideas that fit so many concepts. After all, learning only comes from experience. When you start working on your strengths, you can also go on to do far better work than ever before.
Conclusion The Art of being and becoming an eternal optimist is always a work in progress. Since our country is one of the fastest growing in the world, we can safely understand that the opportunities to really grow to the next level, in whatever we do, is immense. The time is now.
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