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  • Jerry Phillips

Pessimism Disguised as Optimism

I once had someone tell me that farmers in the Midwest have a pessimistic attitude because they never know when weather will damage their crops. I’m not sure who it was, and I didn’t give it a great deal of thought. They had not grown up on a farm. I had. I was certain that I was an optimist, not a pessimist as they had described it. I may have been wrong.

This morning I was having a conversation with my wife about our businesses and what was in store for 2023. As I was explaining to her that my friend’s grandfather, who was an accountant, told my friend that nobody goes broke paying taxes. I was sharing that if you have to pay taxes, you are making money. I went on to say that I hoped I’d be working with several additional clients in the first quarter. My wife pointed out that I should have said I will be working with several clients, not hoping to work with them.

My initial response was that I was being optimistic by using the word “hope”. She pointed out that I was allowing doubt into my thinking by saying hope. I was giving myself an “out”. I had never thought of it that way. It changed my point of view. I asked her to remind me of that when I say I hope…and she will.

I’ve always shared with my clients that hope is not a strategy and then in my own business, I apparently was using the term. Words are important. What you think about, is how you direct your actions. The words you say reflect your thinking. I pride myself in the word power I use, but I’m obviously not perfect. I appreciate my wife pointing this out to me. It’s good for my business and it’s good for my ego.

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