5 Practical Ways to Evaluate Optimism
“Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.” Nietzsche
Our bluebirds lost hope this year and it’s good they did.
Spring was mild in Pennsylvania this year. Our bluebird family had five eggs long before Mother’s Day. Momma bluebird brooded quietly through cold nights.
One day there were four eggs. A few days later the nest was empty. Her eggs lay in the grass. It wasn’t a predator. The eggs were intact.
Momma bluebird lost hope and emptied her own nest. She knows dead eggs don’t produce life, regardless of how long she warms them. It’s good she abandoned her eggs. Unfounded hope is deadly.
Optimism is bondage when you believe dead eggs come to life.
Some hope prolongs torment. You aspire for people who don’t care and encourage people who prefer complaining. You offer solutions to people who respond with more problems.
Lost hope sets you free.
5 practical ways to evaluate optimism:
- Remember the sunk cost fallacy. Don’t invest in more training when previous training had no effect – unless you’re convinced the training was completely ineffective.
- What are you actually doing? Hope is motivation to take action Don’t sit around mumbling things will work out. Positive expectation is dangerous when it prolongs inaction.
- What are you doing differently? When hope prevents change, its destructive.
- How are you learning from experiences? Dangerous hope closes your mind.
- Evaluate your environment. When things change, maybe it’s time to adjust goals or abandon a nest.
Power of hope:
Hope enables you to flourish. Belief you will prevail keeps you going when nights get cold.
Confidence about the future enables organizations and movements to retain talent.
Hope energizes effort. Optimism doesn’t transform lousy leaders. Hope is useful when it motivates action.
How might hope be destructive?
What fuels your optimism?
6 Real World Ways to Build Hope
3 Questions that Identify Deadweight
Wow – “Optimism is bondage when you believe dead eggs come to life.”
Update. A new bluebird family moved in just after Mother’s Day. She laid her first egg yesterday. Giving up made room for new life.
Hope is destructive, according to William Stockdale, when it prevents you from “confronting the brutal facts.”
Yes, unfounded or misplaced hope is the Col. Stockdale told Jim Collins about. It ended up in the book Good to Great. Collins labeled it the Stockdale Paradox. Powerful lesson. Glad you added it here.
I was thinking, ‘Wow! What a brutal post, Dan”. I kept reading and changed my perspective, “Wow, what an authentic and truthful post, Dan”, thank you!
What fuels your optimism?
I believe a bit of history (the past) will sometimes help one see the optimistic possibility – think stock market. I also (try) to remember equanimity
Thanks Melrose. Optimism is necessary to lead. A history of overcoming challenges is one of the best sources of hope. When people start talking, “Can’t do,” ask them to talk to you about big challenges they overcame in the past.
I believe optimism with tenacity and the ability to learn from failure is the pathway to success. Hope and ignorance may be destructive. A person without hope has nothing to live for and is easily radicalized.
Thanks micro…Yes. We need hope to live and face the future.