Always look on the bright side of life

A word to the wise before you read this blog post. I’m a positive guy. More than that, actually: I avoid all sources of negative energy in life. Some people may think I’m too positive so perhaps you should consider this a small warning before you read any further.

Most of you will know the Monthy Python classic “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It’s not that I’m such a big fan, really- well… unless we get to sing it when my favorite soccer team beats our sworn enemy because then it’s probably the best song in the world.

So while on most days it’s just another happy tune, I am very much in love with the message of the song. Whatever happens, always look on the bright side of life.

Most of us are inspired by people who have gone through tough times in life. Many of us have read and heard stories about people suffering from life-threatening diseases who manage to stay upbeat. Don’t you just admire those tweets by cancer patients who are still able to enjoy the small beautiful things in life? And how about the positive energy from sports fans that just keep on going even after a severe accident has confined them to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives? My heartfelt admiration goes to people who stay optimistic in such dark times. No words can describe my admiration because I must admit I’m not sure I would still have that same positive outlook on life if something like that ever happened to me.

Translated into the business world, I think many of us could use a generous dose of positive vibes when we look at innovations and new business models.

It makes me so sad — and sometimes even a bit mad — to see how hostile our society acts towards anything new.

Just imagine what would happen if we could somehow turn these negative feelings into something positive. Wow… Now wouldn’t that be something?

Take Feastly, an uber-like platform for amateur chefs. Imagine someone has a day job and loves to cook for friends in the weekend. Wouldn’t it be great if this group of people could reach out to a platform like Feastly and start their own small enterprise? Or take the over-used example of Uber. Suppose for a minute there’s this woman who dreams of going on a cruise with her husband for their 30th wedding anniversary. To make some extra cash, they do the cab thing in the weekend using the Uber platform. Why do so many countries find it necessary to fight these new platforms? Wouldn’t it be great if we focused on the positive aspects instead of the negative? And don’t get me wrong, these platforms do have negative side effects as well, without any doubt. But focusing on the negatives only discourages people from discovering novelties and taking advantage of new opportunities. Focusing on the positives creates a host of new opportunities.

The same could be said about privacy. Yes, it is true that we are living in a world where privacy is becoming a rare commodity. And yes, it is true that some companies are making shitloads of money because they own the system. The way I see it, you can either focus on the negatives and try to curb new approaches, or you can take a positive outlook and appreciate the enhanced level of service and the new opportunities that are the trade-off for that loss of privacy. Customer service possibilities have never been higher. Think of what it would mean if the endless possibilities of data usage were used to the full in the health care industry. There are so many opportunities.

The list of examples is endless. In the near future, we will have the opportunity to introduce autonomous vehicles on our roads. Some may argue this will take away the fun of driving; others will embrace this change because the 1 million people that die in car crashes every year will no longer lose their lives.

The truth is that every change has positive and negative aspects. It is my feeling that we are slowing down the implementation of new opportunities because we focus too much on the negative aspects of innovation. If we could focus our energy on the benefits of innovation, the world would become a much better place.

Always look on the bright side of life. Wouldn’t that be a great philosophy to look at innovation?