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Optimism is a
Competitive Advantage
Research by Puri and Robinson at Duke University shows that optimistic people work harder, get paid more and are more likely to win in sports, business and politics.

The researchers found that because the optimists believed in a positive future, they took the actions necessary to create it. Their attitude created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I find it interesting and a little humorous that the researchers used the term "delude" when describing the optimist's beliefs and actions. The researchers said that optimists delude themselves into thinking things are going to work out and as a result of this belief they work more and harder to make it possible.

Instead of the term "delude" we might use the term "belief" or "faith but whichever term we use the fact is, when you believe you are more willing to take actions to achieve.

Optimism is more than just a positive state of mind. It's also a competitive advantage in business, sports and life. While the pessimists are complaining about the future and the realists are talking about it, the optimists are working hard to create it.

As I write this it's fitting that the two teams getting ready to play Monday night for the College Football Championship, LSU and Clemson, are both lead by optimists.

If you have followed me for some time you know that I've worked with Clemson Football for the last 8 years. I have watched as Dabo Swinney has transformed Clemson into the top program in the country, playing in three out of the last four national championships.

Dabo's keys to success... besides recruiting, building a family culture, loving his players and hiring great coaches... is that he believes in his team more than they believe in themselves. Dabo told me one time that, "People often call me an overachiever but I'm not an overachiever. I'm an over believer."

When he got the interim head coaching job in 2008, he brought two signs into his first meeting with the team. One sign said Believe and the other sign said I Can’t with the t crossed out. Dabo knew that Clemson always had talent, but they lacked belief. Dabo knew for the program to be successful he would have to instill belief in his players and program and that's what he did. Over the years he has led with relentless optimism and consistently transferred his belief and optimism to his team. It's been incredible to watch the results follow the belief.  

I've never spent time with Ed Orgeron, but as the head coach for LSU he overcame all the naysayers, critics and doubters the last few years and transformed LSU into the team that's favored to win the championship. My friends who know him well said he did it with optimism, love, passion and a belief in himself, his team and especially his Heisman trophy winning Quarterback. I've been so impressed with what he has done and how he and his team have done it.

With all this said, I know only one team can win the game. So, if you are thinking that optimism doesn't guarantee victory, you are right. But here's what I do know... Optimism won't guarantee you'll succeed but being negative and pessimistic will guarantee you won't. There's no way these two teams would be playing in the championship without their optimistic leaders.

Optimism is a competitive advantage and because these coaches believed in what is possible, winning a championship is a possibility for them.

And whether they win or lose, I'm confident that after the game, both coaches will believe the best is yet to come... and you should too. You are capable of so much more but it starts with your belief.

Here’s to a great game! Stay Positive!
Jon

Question: What could you and your team achieve if you believed in an optimistic future and your ability to create it? Talk about this with your team and take action.

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