I’ve never thought of optimism as a skill until I listened to a podcast featuring Tim Ferriss and Phil Keoghan.
In the podcast, Phil talks about optimism as a skill set that’s built over time. He mentions how he banned the words, “I can’t” in his house while his daughter was still young to instill in her that she can do anything she sets her mind to.
Our environments shape us in more ways than we understand. Especially when we’re young and impressionable. The mental models we build in our youth are often hard to unlearn as we age.
When we’re young we mimic the behaviors of the people around us without knowing the difference between good and bad.
I notice myself helping my sisters think of all the possibilities every time they tell me why they can’t do something
I believe my optimism comes from a conversation I had with my dad in a McDonald’s parking lot in middle school.
He told me, “you can either do something with your life or spend it working at McDonald’s. It doesn’t matter to me. Just know that you have opportunities I didn’t.”
I don’t think I’ll ever forget that conversation.
When my dad said that, he was thinking I’d go on to study hard and become either a doctor or an engineer. These were the only models of success he knew.
To his disappointment, I’d go on to find an interest in technology and startups. An opportunity that looks like a failure until it’s not.
I’m determinately optimistic though.