Optimism – Creatively Destroying Pessimism

Creative Destruction – a term popularized in the 1940s by Austrian American economist, Joseph Schumpeter, describes how we creatively destroy areas through innovation. This destruction transforms markets as well as our own business practices.

Successful entrepreneurs recognize others’ bad news is your good news. We’re not talking about gaining pleasure from someone’s misfortunes but rather seeing the opportunity – an optimistic viewpoint. Look at it this way:

When obstacles take place, they become great opportunities.

Take the negative energy from obstacles and transform them into opportunities. We see this in the creation of new markets all the time. The best example of that, of course, is Steve Jobs.

Steve loved music but was irritated by having to buy a complete CD for $13 or $14 just to get that one song he wanted.  He goes to the recording industry and basically says, “What we need is some way for people to download just their favorite song and then be able to listen to it easily anywhere, at any time they want to.”

The birth of iTunes and the iPod.  Really bad news for the recording industry; really good news for us, the consumer.

Then one day he picks up a cell phone in a meeting, trying to find some basic information. He’s punching through buttons and thinking: this is ridiculous, it’s too difficult.  An obstacle that created the next opportunity: iPhone and the whole smartphone industry. Again, good news for us.

And then the iPad; creative destruction of a segment of the laptop industry. Bad news for some; good news for us.

How did Steve Jobs keep this optimism going? Some point to this weird concept: his reality distortion field. I think that was his way of keeping pessimism at bay all the time.  He just made you believe that things can be done. He used that to create these groundbreaking devices, even during a very difficult time in the first ten years of the 21st century, a time when many felt a lot was going south.

What perspectives can we learn from Steve Jobs, the eternal optimist?

  • Optimism is a you-based decision – it starts with you, the business owner.
  • It is about being future-based – opportunities don’t exist in the past.
  • Fail quickly and fail often – you’ll get to your successes a whole lot faster when you move along.
  • Keep those pessimists away and believe that those new opportunities will get done.

Take the negative energy that your own business obstacles create, redirect that energy to identifying strategies that can overcome the obstacles and you will find extraordinary opportunities appearing.  It’s nothing short of creative construction of optimism.

For an extra dose of the eternal optimist, check out Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford University commencement speech on TED.

So until next time, enjoy.

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