The Power of Optimism in the Workplace

Work is called "work" for a reason. It comes from the Old English word wyrcan, meaning

  1. to docarry out
  2. to makebuild
  3. to causeachieve

The action of making, building, achieving, or doing takes energy. In physics, work happens when "a force acts upon an object to cause a displacement of that object."

Though we conjure images of drones typing away on our computers, in cube farms with static lights and slow-moving coworkers, real work requires force. It requires displacement. In business, we call this disruption or innovation. It changes the way things were to the way things will be. 

I believe optimism powers this displacement. Optimism is potential energy in its purest form. The belief that you can do something compels you to do it. The moment you decide that it's impossible, it will be.

Ideas power today's workplace. Skills provide the foundation to make those ideas happen, but without them, things stay stagnant. And the worst roadblock? The phrase "That's how we've always done it." But we can change that, with optimism.

As Seth Godin says above, when you're trying new things, the hope that your gamble pays off is what makes it succeed. Keep disrupting. Keep innovating. Because doing things the way they've always been done isn't work. When you no longer create, build, make better, you're not working--you're simply existing. 

And that's no way any of us want to live.