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Never Stop Practising Optimism

– Article by Hugh Scholey, Managing Director at Big Red Oak


My Grandma used to say that whenever a door closed a window opened. As a kid, I spent hours staring at her doors and windows waiting for this synchronized magic to happen.

I’d stare because I believed everything Grandma said, and because I didn’t know what a metaphor was.

When informed that the points of entry to her home displayed no special abilities, Grandma laughed and told me she knew, explaining, “It’s a frame of mind.”

Doors. Windows. Frames. Grandmas can be confusing, but they can also be wise.

Everyone deals with change differently, and we’re living in a rapidly changing time. It’s hard, because the extent and full impact of the change is unknown, and human brains aren’t particularly good at processing the unknown.

Some people cower at it, in fear of losing the safety and comfort they’re accustomed to. Others, who often have experience dealing with the unknown, have methods for maneuvering through it. My Grandma had this experience, and she knew about opening windows.

The most important thing to know is that life’s windows don’t actually open magically. Even the woman who loses her job and wins the lottery the next week still has to buy a ticket. If you want good things to happen, you have to act.

That’s why it’s impressive to see how businesses are absorbing the sudden downturn and re-inventing themselves. For example, a dine-in restaurant figures out a take-out process and menu, a tutoring centre shifts its entire model online, and a production and manufacturing company switches to making safety and health products that combat COVID-19.

For some of these re-inventing businesses, the changes are short-term survival tactics in order to stay afloat. They’ve opened a window for now, but they will need to create and open other windows to carry on in the long term.

As an agency, Big Red Oak gets to peer into many of our clients’ businesses. The smartest ones are already thinking about creating new opportunities down the road, despite the fact they are coping with the immediate unknown. They act shrewdly to ensure short-term stability, and plan for new opportunities in the future. In doing so, they’ll be ready to act if and when the right conditions for the opportunity happens.

Being an optimist doesn’t mean you ignore the difficulties. It means believing you will overcome those difficulties, so you can plan ahead for the next opportunities.

Don’t let the unknowns change your frame of mind.