The Tipping Point Between Reality & Optimism

I suspect James Altucher would agree with this — the tweets we exchanged the other morning got me thinking….

On most weekday mornings, I post an inspirational quote on Twitter. The exercise offers to me an opportunity to read and scan for thoughts and themes that resonate with my tone for the day. This past Thursday, I posted this:

“In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision.” — Dalai Lama

A running friend responded back to me with this, “I’d love to hear your thoughts some day about the Law of Attraction as it applies athletics, goal setting, etc.”

My familiarity with the Law of Attraction, an idea that attention to positive thoughts leads to positive experiences, is derived from my limited exposure to a few a blog posts.

At about the same time that my friend’s tweet came in, one of my favorite writers, James Altucher, and I were finishing an exchange about his daily photo and video project, in which he captures New Yorkers in their natural habitat. James summarized to me his daily essay for that day as “a combination of our childhood passions and our adult desires.”

I pick up my cup of coffee, sit back in my chair, and contemplate the convergence of these exchanges. One focuses on positivity, and the other explores the depths of challenge as we search for a strand of growth.

My thoughts are drawn to the gaps in our lives, athletic or otherwise. The ones we perpetually attempt to close but more often than not cycle back and forth between a little closer and farther. Perhaps you know a few of them?

It could be that you are stuck in an exhausting relationship. Or, you’ve been waiting for that advancement at work. Or, even the more general daily feelings of:

• What you are supposed to do vs. What you want to do

• Busy vs. Productive

• Good vs. Great

• Say it vs. Do it

• Success vs. Satisfaction

To cross or close any gaps — athletic pursuits, business performance, skill acquisition, or relationship smarts — positivity helps. By all means, accept and harness the arrival of positivity.

But, absolute positivity eludes reality, which makes it neither attainable nor practical.

So, what’s one to do?

Acknowledge your reality.
Find gratitude within your reality.
Know that you can change your reality.

This gives you control of your positivity from the inside-out as opposed to the outside-in.

Instead of chasing the aspirational finish line, let your current reality — the setbacks, conflicts, and hardships — create an exciting start line. Then eagerly approach it with optimism every day.

Thank you for reading my post — I’m Joe.

After winning an Olympic Gold Medal for the United States, I followed an expected corporate path reaching the rank of CEO.

Following a long stint, I walked away from that job knowing there must be a better way.

I now travel the world presenting at conferences, as well as to work with corporations and their leaders, business owners, and influencers about performance, life purpose and serving to full potential.

In other words, I work with Leaders just like You.

You can learn more about me at

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