Developing an Optimistic Outlook
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives
At the end of this article are links to other articles on how to stay motivated.
An optimistic outlook is the most important trait advisors can bring to the job. Overcoming a negative mindset is the necessary first step that makes everything else we do possible.
Right now, we need to put explicit strategies in place to stay motivated – for most of us, motivation doesn’t happen unless we make it happen.
Other Articles by Dan Richards
A Five-part Conversation to Rebuild Market Confidence
Five Steps to High Impact Client Meetings
How to Consolidate Client Assets
Lessons from the Loss of a Multi Million Dollar Account
What to Say When You’ve Said It All
A Prospecting Tip from Barack Obama
Becoming the Fall Back Advisor for High End Prospects
Overcoming a Key Barrier to Moving Accounts
Talking to Prospects about Last Year’s Performance
The End of Prospecting
Turning Corporate Downsizing into Prospecting Success
Lessons from Winning Athletes
Structuring Your Day for Maximum Productivity
The Pendulum Never Stops…
Three Myths of Market Underperformance
Twelve Pieces of Good News in the Gloom
Tips for Motivation in 2009
New research provides ways to keep an optimistic frame of mind.
Dave Kahle, principal with Daco Corporation, has written about the work of Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, who ten years ago authored a book called Learned Optimism: How to change your mind and your life. Seligman’s research showed that we are not born as optimists. Instead, we can develop skills to maintaining a positive point of view, even in the face of difficult circumstances.
This article is adapted from the one by Kahle, with his permission. (You can learn more about his sales training and sales development consulting here.)
Seligman began his career as a research psychologist by studying helplessness in dogs. In an early experiment, he put dogs into a cage from which they could not escape and subjected them to mild shocks. After some effort to get out, the dogs would give up trying and lay down. Later, he put them into a cage from which they could easily escape and subjected them to the same mild shocks. The dogs would just lie down and give up - they did not attempt to remove themselves from the irritant. They had learned helplessness and hopelessness.
In subsequent experiments, Seligman found that human beings behaved in much the same way. Put into a room and subjected to irritating noises from which they could not escape, they soon gave up. When put into a room with a mechanism that would turn off the noise, many didn't try to remove the irritant. Like the dogs, they had learned helplessness and hopelessness.
Seligman formulated a thesis he called "learned optimism." His conclusion was that each of us learns to have either a pessimistic or an optimistic outlook. The good news is that this outlook is not set in stone – it can be changed.