Is Optimism Essential? Yes – But Bolster It with Realism

Optimism is essential to achievement and is also the foundation of courage and of true progress.

– Nicholas Murray Butler

I certainly can’t disagree with the value of optimism. You need to believe that what you’re doing is going to work or it’s going to be very hard to do anything. So, yes, be optimistic.

At the same time, though, all optimism must be supported by realism. Be optimistic by feeling good about a well thought out Business Plan, but make sure you have appropriate contingency plans. That’s realistic.

Some say, but contingency plans imply that you don’t believe in your primary plan, and that means you’re not optimistic it will work.


Contingency plans are part of the main plan. Having contingency plans should make you optimistic about your primary Business Plan because you know that in the event that life doesn’t work out to 100% of your projections – and it never does – you will not fail. You will have next steps ready to go.

So, yes, Butler is right that optimism is essential for progress, but bolster all optimism with realism.

What do you think about Butler’s words? Do you have a favorite quote?

2 thoughts on “Is Optimism Essential? Yes – But Bolster It with Realism

  1. Pingback: Lions, Tigers and Creditors – Oh, my! « The Turnaround Authority

  2. Pingback: The New Norm is Becoming the Norm « The Turnaround Authority

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