Another dot in the blogosphere?

Optimist, realist, pessimist

Posted on: December 30, 2016

Here is a line I did not use at a keynote I have earlier this month. It slipped my mind when someone asked a long question and I was formulating an answer.

When it comes to driving technology-mediated change, I am:

  • an optimist during planning
  • a realist during implementation
  • a pessimist when dealing with people and expectations

It is easy to have a bright and idealistic outlook during planning because you are building on what is possible in theory. But better to plan optimistically because it sets the bar high instead of low.

Plans change when heels meets road. Practical realities, particularly ones that could not be foreseen during planning, must be dealt with realistically if the plan is to move forward and not stagnate or unravel.

My pessimism with people actually stems from realism. People will have different expectations and energies from you. Some will disappoint and some will refuse to take ownership despite buying in to good ideas. It is better to not let their negativity neutralise your positivity; these opposites do not attract.

But change still happens, even if it has to plod along, because it starts from a good place of optimism and a pragmatic one of realism.

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