I have always considered myself to be a “realist.” I like to think that, whether times are good or bad, I have the capacity to rise above, take an unbiased view, and give accurate feedback on my own situation. My go-to thought process was that overly-optimistic people, those who constantly saw the glass as half-full, those who believed in “The Secret” and read self-help books – were only like that because they either were too stupid to know that bad things happen or too oblivious to care.
As it turns out, there is a very fine line between realism and pessimism, and, if you’re not careful, you will end up on the wrong side of the line more times than not.
My grandfather, Bob Krasnoff, once told me – “Worry is the misuse of imagination.” (I’m assuming he heard it somewhere, but, since he’s my grandfather and one of my mentors, I’m giving him the credit for the quotation.) I’m not sure why, but, when he said this – I took it on as my new mantra.
I had always been a worrier. “What if . . .” clouded my brain on a daily basis. When things were bad, I thought that the world was ending, and, when things were good, I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I always had a mindset of “be prepared for the worst,” which, although I thought it to be realistic, is really one of the worst possible ways you can think if your main job is to motivate, teach, lead, and inspire others.Where the mind goes, the body will follow, and, when my mind was focused on the negatives, my personal life and my business quickly would follow suit.
In 2012, I was recommended the book “Delivering Happiness,” by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh. In the book (which is a must-read for ANYONE looking to build a business), Hsieh references the book “Learned Optimism” by Dr. Martin Seligman, PhD. It instantly took the top spot on my Audible queue. The book’s message is, whether your natural programming is that of optimism or pessimism, it is up to you which way you think – that you can LEARN how to be more optimistic.
I have since recommended the book to anyone I work with who needs to learn that, every day, they get to choose what kind of day they are going to have. While we cannot control what happens to us or around us, we can choose how we deal with it, and only we get to decide how to move forward. It has expanded into a daily conversation with my three-year-old:
Me: “What kind of day are you going to have today?
Her: “A great day, daddy!”
Me: “Whose decision is that?”
Her: “It’s my decision. And your day is your decision.”
This type of thinking, like I said, does not come naturally to me. It takes hard work – DAILY hard work – to maintain it. However, I figure, if my three-year-old can “get it,” so can I. In the last year, I have faced some true struggles and challenges in business, added a ton of responsibility and accountability to my personal life, and done it all with a bigger smile on my face than I would or could have even a couple of years ago.
With huge growth on the horizon for myself and DMC, I credit a large chunk of our current and future success to the leadership of our organization’s commitment to personal growth and development and to the idea that “WE DECIDE” what kind of day we are going to have each and every day.
Thanks for reading.