Optimism, Truth and (Not) Disrupting the Status Quo

For as long as I can remember, there has been a distinction between positivity and negativity. Optimism and pessimism.

As an entrepreneur (or just someone who has been willing to venture out into the world and execute on some of my ideas), I have been taught — or led to believe (beliefs that I probably never challenged before) — that I should seek the positive in everything and that the key is remaining optimistic.

This means that whenever I’ve encountered challenging, harsh or uncertain times, I’ve forced myself to see the silver lining among the clouds. That’s the way we push forward. We grow. The status quo is passive, and if I’m going to sit around, the world won’t change, and I won’t undergo any personal development.

Remember too — the world as it is today needs disruption. :troll:

I’m not convinced that all of this is true anymore though.

I’ve seen a new path where there is just acceptance and acknowledgement of what is the truth today. Because that’s the only thing that I can know is real right now.

The Zen Master Seung Sahn says “If you don’t think, the truth is just as it is.”

The truth isn’t positive or negative. The challenging, harsh or uncertain times I encountered don’t need optimism or pessimism. It is just what it is.

When I become aware of how I conduct myself in business, I’m always either looking back: What does our metrics look like today? (This is just hindsight. These metrics are only a result of everything that we did before today.)

Or I’m looking forward: How can I change this status quo (so that these metrics change in future)?

I don’t think of these mindsets as good or bad (they’re probably both helpful), but they’re not the truth today.

Today the truth is that I’m uncertain about things in my business. This uncertainty challenges me because I want to learn and I want to reach the goals I have set myself. And as such, it is tough for me to admit that I don’t necessarily know what to do next.

With this in mind, the more helpful approach is for me has been to just sit with that discomfort. I don’t need to change the truth or today’s status quo. Today doesn’t need optimism or interruption. It just needs acceptance.

Marcus Aurelius says this best: “For the present is the only thing of which a man can be deprived if it is true that this is the only thing which he has, and that a man cannot lose a thing if he has it not.”

I remain optimistic and as I pursue meaning in my life; I will always seek the positive. In between those states of mind (and life), there will be other truths and discomfort with which I will sit.

So alongside optimism, I’m adding acceptance to my entrepreneurial arsenal.

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Photo by Jeremy Cai on Unsplash

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