Negative Optimism and the Arabian Horse Breeder
By Dick Adams
Webster defines the word optimism as... a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome. The belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world. The belief that goodness pervades reality.
Optimism is one of the most necessary character qualities of any successful business. It carries, deeply, into the Arabian Horse "business", with its bounding passions and roller coaster emotions. Our relationship to the Arabian Horse is much more emotionally stimulated than that of our other business ventures. To have a belief in potential success, even if others might see more clearly the pitfalls to our mission, brings forth the human nature relationship of the business/hobby conflict. Most Arabian Horse "businesses" are tolerated on a more hobby basis than any of our other business ventures. But this just proves the premise that only a small portion of those attempting a specific endeavor can reach a maximum success, and most are resigned to a substandard result. Often, not clearly understood, but tolerated. What is better, to be an over-achiever or to be a maximum achiever? Optimism plays a big part of the demeanor and style of maximum achievement.
Over-achievement can be best described as having a strong degree of "chance" that has a prevailing effect on the eventual result. The result is, to a significant degree, not calculated and planned as a form of strategy. It just seems to happen, as if the moon and the stars are in allignment. Little or no logical explanation. More lucky than good!
Maximum achievement is the calculated and planned process ending with a fullfillment of success. While the over-achiever takes that "big step" over the standard's line, the maximum achiever figures out how to and when to take that big step. Over-achievers reach their "spike" surrounded by surprise; maximum achievers reach numerous "spikes" and are pleased, but not really surprised or completely satisfied with the result. To reach you and your horse's maximum potential is what seperates your success from your failures. If you do not have an optimistic character don't expect anymore than failure... or an improbable over-achievement. But, then, that would be optimistic.
At what point does optimism become an unrealistic expectation? When you give up! At what point does an unrealistic expectation develop into a major success? When you are stimulated by an optimistic approach and calculate a positive result.
The optimist, in business, is more likely to attempt a strategy that, if successful, can lead to greater rewards. An optimist, also, will be less discouraged if their attempt fails. Their "rebound factor" is greater. But, the most important aspect of being an optimist is the ability to control its exaggeration. To reinforce and support those decisions that might appear to be eccentric or extravagant or exaggerated. To use a "method to their madness". A more analytical and scientific approach.
Negativism, when used as the self criticsm of the business persona, is the perfect partner to the optimist. Sure, to be enthusiastic with a business venture is very important, but to be suspicious, skeptical and critical of the process is the "check and balance" guard to achieving your goal.
Establish a system of "pros & cons" relative to all aspects of the venture. As I have stated before, "play chess, not checkers". Visualize all the possible scenarios that can happen with your options of approaching the task. Develop an adaptable strategy that allows your approach & attack to include the necessary flexibility for positive adjustment and execution. One of the first "rules" a law school student hears in lecture is, "Never ask a question that you do not already know the answer to". Then... smile (or grit your teeth) and go for it.
Talk to people who can add a differing approach, and then, play upon your logical sense and make an aggressive and well thought out decision. Quite often the negitive thoughts of the person who thinks your idea is flawed will be the catalyst for a more thoughtful approach. A negative attack to an optimistic idea can be the process that can save you from a traumatic loss of investment of both time and money. Listen to everyone, then take into consideration the historical achievements of who is speaking. If they tell you how to breed your mares take into consideration the results of their breeding program. If they tell you how to train your horse; what successes have they had with their horses? What have they done that adds credit to their opinion? Tear your own ideas apart. Be your best and worst critic. Stimulate your thought process to find improvements and eliminations. Often it is the small percentages that will add up to your success. Approach your ideas with your second person as if you were an outside investor asked to buy into "your" program. Then go for it with all that great optimism.
So remember - listen to negative thinkers, seriously consider what they have to say, but don't necessarily accept their advice.
Think about this! A vast majority of all the "great ideas" were slow to be thought of because of their absurd or irrational demeanor. And, many were passed over because of the impossibility of their success. In the Arabian Horse "industry", we have a too strong tolerance for the established. We have become so encapsulated within our "proven practices" and too set in our ways/practices that just might not be as effective as they used to be. If you have a good idea, be a negative optimist about it. It just might be the next "wheel"!