An Optimist in a Pessimist’s World

The Optimist

Optimism sometimes feels so lonely.

I haven’t always been such an optimist. I remember dark days when I questioned life itself. Something changed and I became an optimist, a confident believer that if you think you can do something then you can. Do you believe that? Please tell me there are other people like that out there, please.

If anyone reads a prospectus for a mutual fund (not exactly beach reading material) they would see the statement: “Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.” No one really cares. They buy the fund anyway. When it comes to me, however, it seems people believe a variant of that statement: “Past success is not an indicator of future success.” I wonder why that is?

In spite of all my optimism I’ve never proven myself reckless, thoughtless, impulsive, or irresponsible. Many believe I have taken risks but as Scott Loughmiller points out in What Next, I don’t take risk, I manage risk. Taking risk is being impulsive but managing risk is gathering all the information possible and then making an informed decision. The thing with information is that the one piece everyone wants to know can’t be known, the outcome.

I have failed in some ventures, I did not successfully make the career transition to financial planning (in spite of passing the rigorous CFP exam) and I did not become a best selling (or much selling) author. Those two items carried a┬árelatively┬ásmall financial burden. The plans and schemes I’ve had that involve large amounts of money have all done well.

Of the few ventures I’ve gotten involved in I have turned down many, many more. That means I decided the risk was too high, that I didn’t have all the information I wanted or needed. Past success really isn’t an indicator of future success but sometimes it feels like I’ve never done anything right.

Anyone else have that experience? Let’s get the optimists support club going!

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