Perhaps it’s the excellent nature of such an attitude or the mind-over-matter principle that inspires it. Whatever it is, there’s no denying that optimism is something held to a high regard in business. From start to finish, especially in the middle of the journey, ‘think positive’ is the mantra. But as good as this is, it can also be the cause of a business failure. Sometimes, it makes people too trusting, too lax, and in denial of problems. So, looking at the flip side of the coin, could pessimism be good for your business?
The Pessimist’s Preparation
The truth is, pessimism isn’t just about negative thinking. When you look at it closely, ‘negative thinkers’ are only hyper-aware that out of the two outcomes of an action, the bad is most likely to happen. This perspective, although grim, helps pessimists to come prepared at everything. When you feel like your new product line will be a flop or a new venture, like a pretzel kiosk, won’t make it, you’d spend time making sure that it won’t. You’d research the market. You’d test the product quality. You’d pour in resources for promoting it, making it enticing for your target audience. If there’s no hyper-awareness about a possible failure, coupled with the belief that “everything will be fine”, you won’t be as compelled as you ought to be in making sure that you nail your project.
Believe it or not, pessimism also inspires confidence during trying times. It seems ironic, given that you’re fundamentally fixated on what could go wrong, but here’s the thing, positivity is toxic in the face of adversity. When you keep telling yourself to ‘think positive’ when your business is clearly on the line, it aggravates worries all the more. As for pessimists who are comfortable with the bad, they accept risk immediately, which helps in coping with troubled times. Good for keeping your sanity intact. Good for keeping your business afloat.
The Good Pessimist
In the same manner that too much optimism can be harmful, too much pessimism is also dangerous. When you’re too focused on the wrongs and the failures, the thought can cripple you and render you unproductive with your work. That’s why your goal is to be better at pessimism. Yes, there’s such a thing as a good pessimist. You start with examining your thoughts. Do a reality check. Sometimes, negative thoughts are just that: thoughts. They aren’t necessarily true. For example, seasoned entrepreneurs tend to develop the impostor syndrome, feeling like they’re a fraud despite a track record of accomplishments and successes. It comes from a place of self-doubt and insecurity, which sometimes keeps them from taking risks and exploring other opportunities. It can stagnate personal and business growth. In cases like this, it’s vital to analyze negative thoughts if they indeed coincide with your reality. If your negative thoughts are valid, and that there’s a risk, for example, a trend of profits taking a dip or the possibility of closing business due to a recession, then that’s when ou use pessimism as a motivating factor in drawing up your action steps to reduce risks.
Pessimism in Business
Pessimism can be good for your business — only when you learn how to harness it. Be good at ‘negative thinking’. Be a better pessimist.