I really love my readership. There's so many really cool, expansive, ass-kicking people here, and I'm glad you tune in and hang out. When someone comments or drops me a line, I'm thrilled.
Lately I've noticed something though - people seem to think I'm super-optimist.
Not the case at all.
Actually, I'd say my general mood comes out like this:
70% of the time: not thinking about it specifically or overall pessimistic
20% of the time: moderate optimism
10% of the time: feeling unstoppable
I don't think I'm alone here, either. Having read a lot of biographies and lots of books on doing high level work and creativity, you see constant references to doubt and pessimism.
There's this general cultural ethos that we should optimistic-positive-go!-go!-go! all the time. And yeah, I actually do think that's good. But I think doubt and pessimism are ok, as long as you take action anyways.
Obviously the 10% of the time I'm feeling on top of the world, I do great work. The 20% of the time I'm feeling moderately optimistic, I do good work. The real key, then, is to do at least decent work when feeling anywhere from not-inspired=-at-all to outright pessimistic.
It's especially challenging if you set stretch goals. Me, I'm not really so smart or talented, I know lots of people who are stronger-willed than me, smarter than me, more charismatic than me, better educated, more refined, healthier, with larger advantages... and yet, I set pretty high bars.
Doing this way lends itself to thinking, "Am I crazy? Am I nuts? If I'm not crazy, is everyone else crazy? I think this is possible... I run the numbers, and they work... I run the probabilities, and it works... it really all works on paper, if I can take the actions..."
And it seems like it should work, provided I take the action. But sure, some doubt and pessimism are fairly normal. Far more common than the totally unstoppable feeling.
But for me, the answer seems to be to keep moving forwards anyways. Okay, today this plan seems crazy and like it can't work, but I'm going to do whatever I had planned for today anyways. And... things often do work.
I think most people are naturally more pessimistic than optimistic - at least, they are when doing unfamiliar tasks outside of their comfort zone. That's okay. Do good work anyways even when feeling doubt. That's where established habits, routine, time tracking, unbreakable commitments, deadlines, and things like that help a lot.
You don't need to be a super-optimist to win. I'm naturally slightly more on the pessimist side. But I think about how an optimist act, and then I do that.