A Dour Optimist

Being a startup founder requires a heavy dose of optimism. Optimism in your idea. Optimism. Your team. Optimism in the economy. You have to believe that a million cosmic coincidences will come together to make your business a success. More importantly you need to believe that you can make those million cosmic coincidences happen. So yeah, being a startup founder makes me an optimist.

This doesn’t mean I always see the glass half full or the world full of rainbows and ponycorns. I don’t get excited by new ideas at first. I’m the one who initially thinks it sucks and doesn’t hesitate to say why (later I may warm to the idea). I’m motivated more by fear of failure than benefits of success. I have trouble starting new things because I can see all the ways they can fail and the path to success is surrounded by gaping chasms. I never visualize success.

How do I reconcile these two extreme sides? On the one hand I’ve chosen the one profession that requires unbounded optimism. On the other hand my day to day perspective is what most people would call pessimistic. I could argue that I’m realistic and that this realism is necessary to being an entrepreneur. Truth is I don’t know how these two aspects coincide. I do know that I need to control both extremes for the benefit of relationships with my friends, my coworkers, my family.

For now I just think of myself as a dour optimist.

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2 Responses to A Dour Optimist

  1. Ujomin says:

    “…relationships with by friends, my coworkers, my family.” – You may want to change this to “… relationships with my friends, my coworkers, my family. By the way, I love what you’ve written (for some reason, I’m reading the posts in reverse order).

    • kentonwhite says:

      Thanks for the grammar suggestion — I’ve made the correction. Glad you enjoy the blog and hope that we can continue to keep it interesting and high quality.

      Kenton White

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