Cold, Hard Facts and Blue-Sky Optimism Help You Win

Apr 29, 2018

Three Steps to Put a Paradoxical Governing Philosophy into Practice

Have you ever been in a meeting with these kinds of people? On one side of the table you have the guy who exudes optimism. He gushes about how the team can achieve what you have never been able to do before. You want to believe him, until the guy on the other side of the table speaks. The other guy says how it’s not possible to do what the first guy says and gives a laundry list of reasons. He brings everyone back to reality based on his cold, hard facts. But what if you could use both of their thinking to your advantage? What if you combined their thinking into what seemed like a paradox? What if you looked at the situation with grounded realism, but you also believed in your ability to succeed anyway? That combination of cold, hard facts with blue-sky optimism can make any venture get off the ground.

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Here are three steps you can take to put this paradox of a governing philosophy into practice in your life or in your work.



1. See accurately


It all starts with being willing to see things for what they are. If you cannot accept the situation for what it is, you will have an unstable foundation to start with. You must be able to perceive what is really happening in order to able to chart a successful course.

When I said that you have to accept the situation for what it is, that doesn’t mean you are resigned to it. You can still move forward. But you have to understand what your starting point is before you can move forward.

At the same time, you cannot complain about the status quo. That is not helpful. You can describe the status quo—in descriptive detail—without being defeatist. It is imperative that you handle the reality of the situation without being discouraged. You just need to list the facts without any editorializing.

At work, if you are trying to move forward with an idea with your business, you have to do your homework. If you are moving into a new market, you have to understand what you are up against. You cannot expect that it will all be blue-sky optimism. You must first list all the factors that are up against you. Only if you can identify them can you deal with them.

At home, if you are trying to improve an area of your life, you have to start with a realistic assessment of where you are. If you and your spouse have had a simmering feud for a long time, you can’t expect it to turn around overnight. It look a long time to get where you are, and it will take a long time to get where you want to go.

Understanding your starting place is the first part of developing the paradox of your plan. The next part is how you build upon it from there.


2. Plan aggressively


Once you have laid a realistic foundation for your situation, allow yourself to indulge in blue-sky optimism. When you have the cold, hard facts to start from, then you can figure out ways that you can address them.

You do not have to start with the standard assumptions that govern the way most people think. In fact, do your best to question all of your assumptions. Only then can you have a plan that will aggressively address the situation you are dealing with.

At work, if you are forging new territory for your business, believe that you can achieve more than you have before. But it is important to question how you have done your business to this point. Look also at the assumptions you have made up to this point. Allow your team to ask the hard questions of you. Allow your entire team to toss out ideas and poke holes in those ideas. Only when you allow everything to be questioned can you allow everything to be considered.

Only when you allow everything to be questioned can you allow everything to be considered.


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At home, if you are trying to improve your relationship with your spouse, believe that you can improve your marriage like you never have before. But also be willing to question your own thinking like you haven’t done before. Allow yourself to examine your operating assumptions. Be willing to view things from your spouse’s perspective. And consider how you could have been at fault.

After thinking through how you can move forward by questioning all you have done to get to where you are now, then you can move forward with your balanced paradox.


3. Act wisely


With a sure foundation and thoroughly examined operating assumptions, continue to ask questions as you move forward.

Continue to look at the cold, hard facts as you move toward your blue-sky optimism. Make sure you have both parts of your paradox in view at all times.

At work, allow nothing to be off limits at your staff meetings. Make sure everyone can question anything at any time. Otherwise you may find that the emperor has no clothes.

At home, as you try to improve your relationship with your spouse, be ready for the questions that you will get. Your spouse may question your motives. If the two of you have some bad history, you will have to overcome some mistrust. But by showing your understanding of the cold, hard facts and your belief that things could be better may win over your spouse in time.

You can win at work or at home, by looking at both parts of your paradox: the cold, hard facts and your blue-sky optimism.


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