Becoming a definite optimist

Becoming a definite optimist

Peter Thiel has a 2x2 matrix: indefinite vs. definite, and optimist vs. pessimist. I want to be a definite optimist: imagine a better future and work to build it.

Recently, I've been more of an indefinite optimist.

  • Hoping that startup inspiration hits, without a concrete plan to make that happen.
  • In general, expecting the world to improve, but not having a specific vision of how that will happen nor how I could help.
  • In personal life, living in the moment without a longer vision, again expecting things to get better magically.

At first glance, it seems to correlate with doing more mindfulness practice, but I don't think these two are at odds. There is no contradiction in being definite about the future while accepting the present.

The key question is, how do you become a definite optimist? I know I've been one in the past, and I'm mostly a definite optimist as an employee (though not necessarily a founder). Here's a simple distillation:

  1. Make your view definite. Be clear -- in writing -- about what kind of future you want.
  2. Plan and act. Figure out what you need to do to make that future happen, and do it.

It looks simple because it is. There is nothing hard about writing down a plan, and execution has never been the bottleneck for me. The difficult part, once you have a plan, is communicating it to the outside world. You'll probably be judged either arrogant or naive.

But of course, this has never stopped an entrepreneur. 😎