Simon Sinek on the Difference between Optimism and Positivity


“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”

Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

After listening to his now legendary Ted Talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action (Start with why), I became a huge fan of Simon Sinek. So when Richard Branson posted Simon’s response to the question why young leaders should be optimistic in the current climate, it simply had to be an ‘Áround the Web in 80 Clicks’ Feature. His answer was to explain the difference between positivity and on the various Virgin accounts, I simply had to share it.

“He was asked a question by an entrepreneur called Kyle Frank on why young founders like him should feel positive about the future right now…

He said it’s all about your mindset – and there’s a difference between being positive and optimistic: “Positivity is blind. Optimism is the undying belief that the future is bright, but it’s not a denial of the current state.” …

Simon Sinek

Optimism is one of the most important traits to have in business – especially right now. As Simon explained, if you can hold on to your vision in a time of crisis, you’re still feeling your way in the dark but at least you have a direction and you’re moving forward.” 

[Richard] asked Simon his own question: “If you were starting a business right now, what problem would you be setting out to solve and why?”His answer couldn’t have been more timely or more important. He said he would like to solve how we relate to each other. “We’re living in a time when we’re more judgemental, we’re bad at listening, things are black and white, when in reality they’re mostly grey, and if I’m right you must be wrong.” 

He said we’re missing a lot of human skills such as empathy and the ability to have difficult conversations. It’s time for us to all be little more human and understanding.”

I really connected with this message and felt that it was the exact entry point we need for the last quarter of 2020.  

Here is the aforementioned Ted Talk of legend:

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