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Optimism in Action: How a Positive Mindset Propels Success

As the motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy once said, “Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other.” His observation has certainly proven true for me. As National Optimism Month rolls around this month, I have been thinking about the importance of optimism in all facets of life. 


Optimism about health and well-being.


Each day, my dog wakes up at the crack of dawn. The minute the alarm sounds, she is wagging her tail, ready to rock and roll and head outdoors to harass squirrels and bunnies. She is eager to welcome the new day and revel in a walk around the neighborhood taking in all the smell’s there are to be found. She is putting her big Bernese Mountain dog nose in my face prodding me to get out of bed and barking orders to my wife and I like R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket.


We could all learn a few lessons from this pup. How much better off would we all be if we all started our days with that kind of optimism?


As readers of this newsletter know, I’m optimistic about my future. I believe I will live well past 100, with good health and a good life. Optimism is what gets you up off the couch saying, ‘I’m going to walk the dog today and get some exercise,’ instead of, ‘Ehh, I can never be healthy.’ It’s the fuel for making us human.


A positive outlook is very important in protecting yourself against the forces of pessimism that bombard us daily in the media. That is one reason I no longer watch news programs and invest in professional coaching and read self-help literature. I prime myself with examples of others who have used optimism as a launch pad to success. I believe that optimism plus action equals results. As the author Thomas Friedman says, all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists. 


Optimism about your business.


No one can succeed in founding and building a business without optimism. My personal optimism is the foundation for all my work. Optimism was my fuel as I transformed from being an attorney with a life-style practice to founding my financial services companies to committing to a mission to impact one million families by saving their families billions of dollars and building a nationwide network of similarly minded attorneys in pursuit of that mission.


You simply can’t set out on your own and hope to build a lasting business without being optimistic about the future. As the late General Colin Powell said, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” That is how optimism has worked for me.


I recently re-read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, an all-time classic and a foundational source for much of the modern business coaching and self-improvement movement.  He states: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”


Optimism about your investments.


While optimism is a cornerstone for personal success and enjoyment, it can be downright dangerous when it comes to your investing philosophy.   In this arena, it can lead to justification for taking excessive risk like failing to take some of your winnings and diversifying or holding on to losses in the hope that the investment will come back.  It can also lead to falling for confirmation bias where you disproportionally weigh the memory of the good investment decisions you have made over the bad.


Tempering ‘Hopium.’


As a fiduciary and advisor, I am optimistic in the long term about trends in the stock market. That optimism mustn’t make us blind, however. I sometimes have to temper people’s optimism when it borders on what I call “hopium,” the irrational belief that the markets will always move to their advantage.


I like to introduce realistic thinking about what could happen. Balance optimism with awareness of risk. There are going to be long periods when the market is down. Build diversification into your portfolio as a hedge. 


Remember, if you lose 50% of your value in an investment (from $1,000,000 to $500,000), you don’t need to have it grow 50% to get back to the starting point(that would only be $750,00), you need it to grow 100% to get back to even. This is one reason why average rates of return are misleading.


Remember Warren Buffets two rules of investing.  Rule 1: Don’t lose money.  Rule 2: Don’t forget rule 1.


If you have heard me speak over the last year or so you know that I believe that we are heading for a major market correction as we absorb the impact of demographic change, technology, and political change.  We are mission driven to help as many people as possible get through this correction without undue exposure to its potentially devastating potential.


I base this belief upon several leading economic voices.  One voice is Ray Dalio.  He is the founder of the largest hedge fund in the world, Bridgewater Associates.  In his 2021 book Principals for Dealing with the Changing World Order, he chronicled the world history of economic boom and bust cycles. In his analysis he sees a reckoning somewhere in the next 3-4 years.  This will occur when the 401k generation is at its most vulnerable.


This book is a must read for people that are trying to understand the current economic situation. I strongly encourage you to invest time in reading this book so you can assess for yourself the level of economic risk we are facing in general, and you are facing in particular.


That being said, I am a long-term optimist about our nation and the economy. 


We have gone through some rugged bear markets and that same history shows that over long periods of time, the stock market always grows. And sound financial planning helps people make the most of that growth, empowering them to age with confidence.  We do this by building in resilience to get through the tough times and take advantage of the future growth.


As you move into National Optimism Month, consider starting the day like my dog — ready to rock and roll the minute the alarm sounds. How might that kind of optimism fuel positive change in your life?  It may add years of good health to your future.  Make sure that you are cautiously optimistic in your investment strategy so you can enjoy the future.


And with that, I will encourage you to read on and leave you with the earworm from Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.


There's a great big, beautiful tomorrow

Shining at the end of every day

There's a great big, beautiful tomorrow

And tomorrow's just a dream away


Man has a dream and that's the start

He follows his dream with mind and heart

And when it becomes a reality

It's a dream come true for you and me


So there's a great big beautiful tomorrow

Shining at the end of every day

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow

Just a dream away


Make today a Bernese Mountain Dog kind of day.

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