As this weekend approaches, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on something I had been discussing with a friend earlier this week. We were talking about running our businesses, and we both agreed that it’s always easier to get down to work when the work is good. On days when the workload seems overwhelming, or at times when a project isn’t working out exactly as you had envisioned, it takes a little extra effort (and several extra mugs of coffee) to get work done.
It turns out, this type of thinking has been studied extensively by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. I did some searching and uncovered a case study in which researchers tracked new hires at Met Life - measuring their success and failure rates, and analyzing the employees’ moods to determine their effect on overall performance.
The study compared sales people with a optimistic outlooks to those who were pessimistic. While the success and failure rates of each group were comparable, those workers with an optimistic mindset made far more progress - outperforming the pessimists by 20-40%. The reasoning behind this, the researchers suggested, was that people who were generally optimistic attributed their failure to something that the would be able to change. In other words, when they failed, they kept going, knowing that they could improve over time. Pessimists, meanwhile, took each failure far more seriously, to the point that it detracted from the work they were able to do.
How are you feeling today? Feeling a little overwhelmed? Why not put this theory to the test by letting yourself off the hook for those things that may not be working out as planned. Give yourself a pep talk and get back in the game.
If you’re feeling confident, well, go out there and make it happen!