Phil Friedman

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Avoid the Pitfall of Excessive Positivity

Avoid the Pitfall of Excessive PositivitySMALL-BUSINESS PRIMER

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SOCIAL MEDIA MAVENS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP ARE FOND OF PREACHING THE UPSIDE OF UNBRIDLED POSITIVISM, BUT ...


We daily see posts on social media extolling  1) the virtues of getting outside of your comfort zone, 2) learning that positive attitude conquers all, 3) that entrepreneurship is the fastest path to realizing all of your life's dreams, and/or 4) some other half-assed, super-optimistic drivel.

Out of work or weary of your routine job working for someone else? Start your own business. After all, it only takes an idea — sound, innovative, trite, or crackpot, no matter — and a positive attitude.

Depressed? You only feel that way by virtue of the limitations you are placing upon yourself. Shape up and understand that your fate is entirely in your own hands. The "right" attitude conquers all. And with the right attitude, your potential is limitless.


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It's mostly poppycock, intended to make you feel warm and fuzzy, maybe sign up for some life coaching or an exercise and diet program for budding entrepreneurs. Or, perhaps, just to build a following for the author of the post, since nothing attracts flies as much or as well as poppycock — unless, perhaps, it's bull chips ...


The snag is that Excessive Positivity is not alway benign ... at times, it can be actively damaging ...

And never more so than in the sphere of small business. Consider, if you will, the following "case study". 

I was not too long ago contacted by an upstart entrepreneur who was running into problems getting a project off the ground. The primary problem? Revenue was not developing as expected, and significant financial loss was looming on the near horizon.

This would-be entrepreneur had jumped into the project with both feet, propelled by a burning sense of purpose and optimism and encouraged by others who waxed supremely enthusiastic over the core idea — on social media.

However, when the transition was made from ideation to instantiation, the hard bumps of reality began to intrude. Sales continued at a level far below expectation. And the project was headed inexorably toward the Red Sea and some very painful losses.


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Before Writing Comes Thinking

It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the venture was suffering from lack of planning ... However, that inference would be wrong ...

A business plan had been developed, including revenue forecast against projected expenses and a break-even analysis. Could the business plan have been more comprehensive? Perhaps. But it wasn't a lack of planning that was the problem. Rather, it was an overly optimistic expectation of initial market response, that is, early sales.

Part of the problem was also that an alternative "Plan B" had not been developed to anticipate the possibility of what, in fact, happened.  Was that unusually naive? Again, perhaps, but more likely, the result of trusting correspondents and respondents on social media.

For on social media, I've seen many times more than once memes and posts that proclaim sayings to the effect that, "If you feel the need for a 'Plan B', you lack faith in your Plan A and will doom it to failure."  As though somehow optimism and positivity — not to mention having no alternative — can somehow function to overcome all problems.


Text Copyright © 2016 by Phil Friedman — All Rights Reserved
Image Credits: Phil Friedman, FreeDigitalPhotos net, and Googlelmages com


As someone who has spent most of his adult working life in the small-business sector, let me tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

In a September 2013 article, The Wall Street Journal reported that 56% of Americans thought themselves capable of starting and running their own business,  while against this ambience of willful optimism and confidence, there stands a sobering reality of statistics that predict about half of such businesses will fail within the first couple of years.

So, where does all this positivity on social media come from? Well, that same WSJ article reported that, of the 56% of Americans who expressed positivism toward small-business creation and operation, only 6% actually ever undertook to put their beliefs into real-world practice — that is, actually started and attempted to run their own business.


"P" can stand for "positive", but also for "pollyanna", and if you are considering starting a new small-business venture, you would do well to assure that you understand the difference between the two ...

A major and very successful entrepreneur, who was at various times my client, boss, and friend, once told me that if he listened to his accountant, lawyers, and planners, he would never have acquired any of the 125 companies that he bought and built. So instead, he said, he went mostly with his instinct — which worked for him since, at the time (2001), he was worth some $1.8 billion.

Of course, he could tolerate an unusually high level of risk. And tended to treat just thinking of something the same as having it actually accomplished. Which might work for you as well. But more likely, won't. 

The better way for most of us is to avoid the pitfall of excessive positivity.

Like the would-be entrepreneur mentioned in my "case study", most of us are better off following a more conservative path that includes:

  • Developing not only Plan A but Plan B in case Plan A does not prove out in reality.
  • Developing not only Plan B but Plan C in case Plan B does not prove out in reality.
  • Always be conservative when estimating initial market response.
  • Never expect a new small-business to support itself during its first year of operation.
  • Make sure you have the capital resources to support the business, or at least yourself, for the first year.
  • Last but far from least, establish an abort trigger — and stick to it.


Starting a new small-business venture without first establishing an abort trigger is like selling short in the stock market — your losses can be potentially unlimited.

A well-delineated abort trigger helps prevent you from becoming like the losing gambler who keeps doubling down in order to recoup un-recoupable losses.

The abort trigger should represent the point at which any developing losses or other factors such as lack of sales reach the maximum you can tolerate and/or support without irretrievably damaging yourself financially or personally going forward. It is critical to have one because it is one thing to lose a pile money and have to start over again, while it is quite another to lose a pile of money and never be able to recover. It is also one thing to lose a business you're trying to start, but quite another to lose your spouse and family in the process — something I've witnessed more than once over three decades in small-business and small-business consulting.

Understand that none of this is to counsel fear or negativity, but only to caution you to employ reasonable prudence and good judgment. And to avoid the kind of excessive positivity that is showered upon you on social media.

My best wishes to you for a successful and prosperous New Year 2017. (Update: 2018)

— Phil Friedman


Postscript:  Please do not mistake what I've said here as a discouragement to pursuing your dream of having and running a small business.  For it is not intended to be such. I have spent the vast majority of my adult working life as a small-businessman and small-business consultant. And looking back, I would not have had it any other way.  —  PLF


Author's Notes:  If you found this article of value, you  might also want to look at some of my other writing about small business operations, management, and marketing:


"Common Myths About Starting Your Own Small-Business"

"Small Businessman's Primer to Inbound Marketing"

"Selling Bull Chips in a Bag"

"Maximizing Throughput on Fixed Assets and Overheads"

"Small Businesses Need to Keep a Close Eye on Gross Profit"


If you would like to discuss marketing or other issues you face in your efforts to join the ranks of small-business, email or message me to arrange for a free, no-obligation, 1/2-hour initial consult.

To receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other LinkedIn articles — whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. I ask only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to the original work.

If you are interested in yachts, are allied with the yacht building industry, or operating a small business in another sector, you should consider joining my beBee Hive,

THE PORT ROYAL GROUP for Yacht Builders, Buyers and Owners

where you will find experienced industry professionals discussing a wide range of topics. The ongoing conversation is always interesting, informative, and 100% industry insider.


About me, Phil Friedman: With 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation. In a previous life, I taught logic and philosophy at university.


Before writing comes thinking.  ( The optional-to-read pitch) :  

As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve their thought and writing, master the logic of discussion, and strengthen their ability to deal with disagreement... which I have found to be the natural precursor to improved writing.

To watch presentation video, click the following image.


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To schedule an appointment for a free 1/2-hour consult or to sit in on one of our online group sessions, email: info@learn2engage.org. I look forward to speaking with you soon.


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Comments
Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

1 year ago #80

#116
Yes, I tried your service and it was pure crap. Please keep your ads off my discussion threads.

Alexa Steele

Alexa Steele

3 years ago #79

#114
You're welcome.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

3 years ago #78

Alexa Steele recently ran across this piece published a bit more than a year ago and marked it "relevant". That led me to re-read it and realize that it is, in fact, as relevant as ever -- perhaps more so as micro-entrepreneurship becomes more popular in the growing "gig" economy. Thanks, Alexa, for reminding me. Cheers!

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

Excellent advice Phil Friedman. Mission and vision statements, a business plan, enough capital and common sense are important, IMO. Positive thinking is good but it shouldn't blur realistic goals.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #76

#110
Well, mama, if irony be sand, den you be da' Sahara Desert. :-) Which one of us is dating him- or herself more, Nicole?

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #75

#107
Thank you, Jared, for the interesting facts about Branson. What always amazes me is that the prophets of you can-do-anything-if-you're-positive-about-it completely overlook the real facts about most successful entrepreneurs. Perhaps because they don't really understand business. Well no, it must be more than that. Building on your example of Richard Branson, do they think he set out all those times to become the first man to hot-air-balloon around the world non-stop solo with just a smile and his toothbrush? And, of course, a positive attitude?

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #74

The forces of unbridled optimism are afoot again. So I thought it time re-release this antidote. Understand that it is not a recommendation for action-crippling negativism, but rather a recommendation to spur positive successful action through a realistic approach. You can't go into battle wearing only a smile and expect to survive.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #73

#104
OMG, Nicole Chardenet, I get the shivers when you talk Chicago-ese to me! Cheers!

Wayne Yoshida

Wayne Yoshida

4 years ago #72

#102
Phil - exactly my point. Attitude / motivation is not enough - gotta kick in reality and actions to get it done. Sort of like my post about transferable skills -- https://www.bebee.com/producer/@wayne-yoshida/re-inventing-yourself-got-transferable-skills And yes, there are all kinds of lessons from the Theranos / Liz H story in that article. Happy New Year.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #71

#101
Wayne, the Theranos/Elizabeth Holmes story is a fascinating study in how warped the investment capital market has become. And I recommend that everyone read the piece. Thanks for the link. But back to the point, you say, " While a positive attitude can get anyone motivated..." However, while a "positive" attitude can help one stay motivated, I think the motivation itself does not derive from one's attitude, but from one's desire to achieve a given end. Moreover, be that as it may, attitude without action doesn't take you anywhere. And I don't think you have to believe that with a positive attitude you can accomplish anything or everything, in order to accomplish something real and valuable. Which is what I think you are saying as well. Thanks for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Wayne Yoshida

Wayne Yoshida

4 years ago #70

Excellent, Phil. This over positivity stuff is not limited to the social media universe. A while ago, I had to (mandatory requirement) attend an "accountability group" while doing a stint of unemployment. We all had to share our layoff experience with the group. One participant told us their story and said during the termination meeting, a supervisor said something about her having a lack of Microsoft Office skills, and said she "needed to get with it." She said she was shocked to hear of this. . . . everyone in the group nodded their head and said that was a horrible thing to say and that should not have been a good reason to fire her. I looked around and said, "Hey. Wait a second. Your supervisor said you lacked some basic skills. Shouldn't you think about how your boss made this observation/evaluation? What are you doing to improve yourself - especially the skills your boss nailed you for?" I had to leave that group. Too much whining, too much hand-holding, not enough constructive criticism. And this may be one of the core issues: While a positive attitude can get anyone motivated, everyone must examine and assess whether or not the basic skills are in place -- or not -- and proceed accordingly -- Including having a Plan A and a Plan B. Anyone read the Theranos / Elizabeth Holmes story? http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/09/elizabeth-holmes-theranos-exclusive

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #69

#98
Lyon, you are correct. I am never a fan of those who make their fortunes selling Kool Aid whilst pretending it is liquid gold sent by the gods.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #68

#97
Mohammed, in the main, I agree. I would add, though, that even given all of the ingredients you cite, one can also use a bit of luck. Sometimes hard work and a positive attitude are just not enough. Thank you for reading and sharing this post. My best to you for 2017.

Lyon Brave

Lyon Brave

4 years ago #67

Haha not an Abraham Hicks fan i take it.

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

4 years ago #66

Thanks Phil Friedman for this thought-provoking post with good counsel. Ah, in this fast-paced world, with the usage of social media platforms we come across lot of posts that are like 'sandwich solutions' for quick success. As if self-styled success gurus promoting their precepts. ...one post says how to prepare for startup business, another post speaks about growth and success for entrepreneurship. Presumably, what one requires is not just positivity but also needs determination, hard work, right decisions, effective planning and true commitments. Nothing else but all positivism is like rosy dreams!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #65

#89
Praveen, I feel for your friend. Although I have to say, from what you've outlined, he structured his business venture poorly by not recognizing contribution of hands-on labor. His agreement should have been for a sharing of profit going forward -- after payment to those who contribute hands on labor -- with him taking the lion's share of that profit for having the ideas and owning the company. I hope he gats it sorted out. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #64

#89
Praveen, I feel for your friend. Although I have to say, from what you've outlined, he structured his business venture poorly by not recognizing contribution of hands-on labor. His agreement should have been for a sharing of profit going forward -- after payment to those who contribute hands on labor -- with him taking the lion's share of that profit for having the ideas and owning the company. I hope he hats it sorted out. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #63

#91
thank you, Mohammed, for the wise words. I say what I am moved to say, in the way I am moved to say it. And I have no need to "convince" people, for I am not being paid to convince them -- at least not on beBee. If someone, anyone can benefit from my sharing of experience, I am good with that. And if not, then no matter. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #62

#90
Thank you, Debasish, for reading and commenting -- I think. Cheers for 2017.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #61

#87
Aleta, thank you for reading and commenting. I agree with you that one can have the best of ideas for a business, plus do everything "right" yet still fail. Success in business always has a component of happenstance and luck, often called "timing". As to seeking instant "success", one only has to realize that one of the attractions of social media is that people can instantly designate themselves to be entrepreneurs, gurus, ninjas, thought leaders, and the like -- all without having a clue. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #60

#85
Thank you, Mohammed, for reminding me that there are many readers out there who think what I publish is a joke. :-) Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #59

#75
Yes, Jim, very true. Which is why I say that excessive positivity is not always benign, but in the real world, can be actively harmful -- to family, friends, naive investors, and oneself. Thank you for reading and commenting. My best to you for the coming New Year.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #58

#78
Thank you, Bernard, for reading and joining the conversation. I not only agree, but admire your terseness of expression. Cheers and Happy New Year.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #57

#66
Thank you, Mohammed, for a great metaphor. The first danger signal should be when one begins to think it is all so easy and requires only a positive attitude. At that point, one needs to check to see whether one is holding the bull by the horns or simply grasping some part of one's own anatomy. :-) Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #56

#65
Thank you, Ren\u00e9e \ud83d\udc1d Cormier, for reading and joining the conversation with some sage advice. Seriously. One of the things that would-be entrepreneurs and small-business owners (not in my book necessarily the same thing) need to understand from the get-go is that there is no "Start Your Business" app for automating the procedure. You actually have to take the time and make the effort to learn, understand, and implement information and related skills. Cheers to you for a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #55

#62
Harvey, you make several excellent points in this comment. I always ask myself about motivational speakers, especially those who push uber-positivity as the answer to being successful in business, "If you hold the key to success in business, why are you running this motivational speaking operation? Could it be that you can make more money telling people how easy it is to succeed if only you are positive, than by actually running a business?" Same kind of question I ask "financial consultants" who want to sell me stocks and bonds. Thank you for reading and joining the conversation.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #54

#61
Thank you, Harvey, for reading and commenting. And especially for bringing Ian Weinberger's post to attention here. I have read it, endorse the lesson it proposes to teach, and have shared it. I highly recommend it as a must-read. ( https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ian-weinberg/drowning-in-snake-oil ). You are correct that stepping away from uber-positivism is a risk for writers on social media since so many use it as a playing field for building a fantasy life and various other activities involved in self-delusion. Unfortunately, there are people who are harmed by all the nominally "good" feelings and positivity being expressed. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #53

#60
Thank you, Pascal, for reading and commenting. I agree that success in business is never a gift left by Santa Claus. Neither is it something attained by writing positive inspirational sayings on your bathroom mirror (or reading them over and over again on social media). My best to you for a healthy, happy, prosperous 2017.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #52

#59
Thank you, Zacharias, for reading and joining the conversation. I agree with you. We need to be motivated by optimism always but kept on our feet by a degree of caution and balance. Plans B and C may hopefully never be needed, but good nevertheless to have in our pockets. Cheers for a great New Year coming in 2017.

Jim Taggart

Jim Taggart

4 years ago #51

Think of it as the Entrepreneurial ABCs of planning, in reference to your having contingency-escape routes. Too many self-described entrepreneurs are blindly wed to their product or service, often having invested not just their own life savings (including mortgaging the family home) but money contributed by family and friends. You can only push on a string for so long.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #50

#58
Todd, thank you for reading and especially commenting with such candor. I was hoping that this piece would draw out those with real-world experience to talk about their experiences. Which in the world of small-business, indeed any part of real-world business, includes missteps and failures from which we can all learn. As an aside, when I was in NZ, we went down to Queenstown to the bridge over a dry river bed that was the original location of bungee jumping. Planned to do the jump as one of my bucket list items. Got there to find that the operation's employees hooking up and adjusting the bungee lengths based on weight and judgment (just long enough to lightly kiss the river bed before yanking you back into the air) were ALL FREAKIN' TEENAGERS. Kept my money and went to a pub for a pint instead. My best to you for a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #49

#57
Thank you, Mohammed, for reading and joining the conversation. I agree. The world of business start-up has become almost entirely a Las Vegas or Monaco style game. Few start-ups seek to generate profits, but rather live on the inflow of investor capital, underpricing the market while they grab market share in an attempt to cash in on an IPO, immediately after which ownership bails out and exits. Value is no longer related to anything we might recognize as traditional. It is all about buying and reselling stock at a profit, the epitome of a pyramid scheme. Get out soon enough and you win, with only the last people to depart left holding the bag. My best to you for the coming New Year.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #48

#65
Thank you, Ren\u00e9e \ud83d\udc1d Cormier, for joining the conversation with some sage advice. I agree with your points completely. To which I would add, a would-be entrepreneur or small-business person (not in my book the same thing) should understand that there is no "Start My Own Business" app. You actually have to learn, understand, and implement a mountain of information and skills. One of which is the skill of avoiding self-delusion. My best to you for a great 2017 business-wise and otherwise. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #47

#63
Thank you, Cory, for reading and commenting. I agree completely that nobody ever starts a new business or buys and existing business thinking that he or she is going to fail. Just as nobody who rock climbs expects to fall. But in both cases, it does not hurt to use a safety line, where feasible. Which is why I closed the piece by saying, "Please understand that none of this is to counsel fear or negativity, but only to caution you to employ reasonable prudence and good judgment. And to avoid the kind of excessive positivity that is showered upon you on social media." Cheers and best wished to you for a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #46

#67
Thank you, Paul, for reading and for sharing your views. That is precisely why I wrote this piece, namely, to draw out people with real-world business experience to the conversation to share their experiences. For the record, the "case study" is not about you. I purposely kept the description vague, first so as not to cause anyone embarrassment, and second, so that those who might see themselves in it would speak out. But no matter, for we are all friends here (I hope). I personally have also started and run several small businesses and worked in the turnaround of several others, a couple not so small. Most of those details are included in my LinkedIn profile because marine industry operations and management consulting is part of my core business. I agree with you that the digital (virtual) world presents the opportunity to do some small-business start-ups with capitalization via sweat-equity. Still, one must consider the cost of such sweat-equity in terms of lost opportunity. For example, if you work a "day job" and do a start-up in the evenings and on weekends, you can get a lot of digital work done with no cash outlay. But do not forget that, if you have the energy to do all that start up work, you could be working a second paying job. So your investment of sweat is not without cost to you and potentially your family. In this piece, I in no way question whether anyone should make a run at starting a business. I only counsel avoiding excessive optimism -- of the variety that refuses to consider and allow for the risks and costs. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #45

#55
I agree with you Phil Friedman. Valid business advices for sure.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #44

I agree with you completely, Phil. I have seen many people in their 50s get packaged off and make a decision to become consultants or something similar even though they have absolutely no idea how to sell anything, or any understanding of what it really takes to be in business for yourself. They get hosed right out of the gate paying people to develop their websites, write business plans for them and run their social media campaigns because they are completely out of their element. Then they end up at the mercy of their web guy and others because they have to pay someone to do everything for them. In my mind the only thing worse than ignorance is having an unwillingness to learn new things and empower yourself. Anyone planning to start a business should prepare well in advance by learning how to do things for themselves in order to save money and keep themselves from being taken advantage of. They should also seek out plenty of advice from people with real money who have already been successful in business and know what it takes. Just because you want to have your own business doesn't mean you have the temperament or talent to make a living at it. Some do, but others don't and starting from zero is really difficult; especially when you are no longer living in your parent's house!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #43

#9
All the best to you as well, Phil. I will read and comment on this post ASAP.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #42

Another point of view is the self destructive nature caused by writers in the positive attitude arena. I can remember early on listening to and reading (before internet) the positive attitude changes your altitude message. I got a sense that something was wrong with me and i was lacking what it took, so you try harder to have a positive attitude. All the while AR is slipping to 60 days and equipment maintenance is exceeding budget etc. So i smiled and walked on with this positive attitude, things didn't change. I had a few great mentors who were also customers they were similar in edginess as this post. We can be positive and focused but we still have to deal with the issues. I have spoken with several folks who were a little let down when they couldn't find their mojo like "Positive Speaker". Watching them chase after this was somewhat flabbergasting. Each book, tape or seminar they went to would mark a high and only to be followed by a low 48 hours later. Social media seems to present this same side of perfection. It establishes in many minds emotional positive support. When a few years pass and you haven't achieved what you think is success you begin to think something is wrong with you. The sad part, they have wasted valuable time developing through the trial and error process of the fundamentals. Affirmation of a job well done is something we all realize and to varying degrees need. But affirmation of mystical ideals are better served at a bar and a few drafts behind them.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #41

This discussion is usually the one that gets me in the most trouble. I have met many great ideas in people who thought they could "take it to the streets". Some of my first questions along the same lines here would get me thrown out and labeled Ward Clever (1950's family show dad). I just don't understand. Many of their friends had supported them in the "positive" format and they really felt charged up. I was a battery draining dinosaur from the past. Sent to the future to just destroy them. Positive input is uplifting and supportive in most cases but in the end it doesn't support the exchange of salient facts and wisdom needed for success. But i also believe that many look to social media for confidence. Laying out a post like you have here may cost them some likes, followers or future supportive commentary. Balancing ones "brand" and stepping out of the positive is a dilemma for the person behind the keyboard. A discussion https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ian-weinberg/drowning-in-snake-oil is somewhat on point as to the positive thinking model that gets demonstrated on social media so often.

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #40

Naivety, avoidance and lack of experience are the other side of the coin, I see this happening a lot in the social enterprise field with micro companies not surviving the second year because there was a lack of prep and realism injected in the biz plans. Being positive and balanced is good but is only a small part of the equation, mind over matter and all that jazz only work when the core work has been done and it does include taking head and incorporate the ''negative'' or not so positive stuff too... Hail to Saint Happy :-)

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

4 years ago #39

Excessive positivity (aka a guaranteed way to fail in the long run) seems to be more of a reaction to the other extreme that plagues many professionals: excessive negativity. In my experience, a viable strategy is never found in the extremes. I agree that we need to be cautious and have an exit strategy, instead of adopting the pollyanna mentality, which is a guarantee to suffering and failure.

Javier 🐝 CR

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #38

#6
Phil Friedman best wishes from Madrid ! HAPPY NEW YEAR

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #37

#54
Milos, if you review my article you will see that I do not question the value of positive emotions to maintaining mental health and well being. What I point out is that excessive positivity that squelches healthy and rational concerns, especially in business, can lead to harm. My thesis has little to do with emotions themselves, but rather with the potential harm an overbearing excess of unrealistic positive emotions can lead to in s defined context. So pardon me if I am somewhat at a loss to see the relevance of Prof Frederickson's work to my business-related article. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #36

Take two minutes to complete the Positivity Self Test now created by Prof. Barbara Fredrickson. Your score provides a snapshot of how your emotions of the past day combine to create your positivity ratio: http://www.positivityratio.com/single.php "Barbara Fredrickson is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory (a.k.a. PEP Lab) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research reveals how positive emotions, fleeting as they are, can tip the scales toward a life of flourishing. Winner of several awards for her research and teaching – including the American Psychological Association’s inaugural Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology’s Career Trajectory Award – Barb created her broaden-and-build theory to describe how positive emotions evolved for our human ancestors and how, today, they vitally shape people’s health and well-being. Barb’s scientific contributions have influenced scholars and practitioners worldwide, in disciplines ranging from education to business and beyond. Her research has been featured in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, CNN, PBS, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Oprah Magazine, and elsewhere. In May 2010, she was invited to brief His Holiness the Dalai Lama on her research." - from http://www.positivityratio.com/author.php

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #35

#52
That's great Phil. I still have a highly positive approach.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #34

#48
I do forgive you, Milos, for that. Especially since I do not have a PayPal account. Which makes it ever so odd that periodically I receive an email notice from PayPal telling me that my account with them has been compromised and asking me to send by return email my account details so it can be fixed.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #33

#49
Autorasa, be well and have a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year. There is a seat at the conversation table on my posts any time you choose to return. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #32

Phil Friedman, I´ll send you copy of the tab together with my new unpublished article. Or maybe you will send me copy of the tab and your PayPal address. I could not resist please forgive me, my friend :) Happy 2017!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #31

#40
David, I agree that those who never fall never climb. And those who never fail, never try. But the wise rock climber uses a safety line. It doesn't always prevent a disaster, for rock climbing is dangerous. Still, not to use one is, to my mind, foolhardy. And there you have a metaphor worthy, I think, of Ali Anani -- well, almost. Cheers and best wishes to you and yours for 2017.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #30

Thank you, , for sharing this post. Cheers!

Jim Murray

Jim Murray

4 years ago #29

This comment is forMax Carter, who I am not connected to. Dear Sir: I have known and written with Phil for quite a while now and one thing I can tell you is that once he decides he doesn't want anything to do with someone, that's the end of it. He has all the intellectual and spiritual horsepower to defend himself, so you should know right now that your attempts to get him to respond to you are pretty much the equivalent of banging your head against a very hard brick wall. What happens when you bitch about not getting a response from Phil is that you look like whiney and petulant. So my advice to you is to cut your losses and back off, because Phil will never be your friend and all you are doing here is eroding your brand by trying to make that happen, because lots, and I means many, many people read these comments.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #28

#28
Thanks, John, for saying. The same to you.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #27

#38
Aurorasa, I've been saying to people to send me the tab for years. But as my longtime cohort from LinkedIn, Andrew Books, knows, I am referring to the tab from the BEER CAN. I wish I could say sorry for the confusion, but I can't in all honesty. LoL.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #26

#36
Devish, in order to remember it better, think of its author as the good looking guy in the cap. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #25

#35
Thank you, Jared, for reading and for the kind words. "Sage" might be a bit of an overstatement, but I won't turn it down. My best to you, as well, for a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year.

David B. Grinberg

David B. Grinberg

4 years ago #24

Thanks for another good read/buzz, Phil, which I've shared on three hives. You make some good points. I think that moderation is the key to most things in life. There's a difference between being cautiously optimistic, positively expectant, exuberant, overly exuberant and "irrationally exuberant" (the latter term courtesy of former USA Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan). Thus, on one hand, choose wisely in 2017 and set achievable, realistic business goals. But on the other hand, remember those sayings: "Those that never fall never climb" and "No risk no reward." Happy New Year to you and your family, Phil. I wish you all the best in 2017. Keep buzzing!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #23

#34
Thank you, Franci, for reading and for the kind words. I think you put it very well. I am cautious and aware when, for example, I go to an outside teller machine to withdraw cash from my account. But that does not mean I am negative or fearful. For there is a difference. Understanding and preparing for a potential business downside is not to be negative, just cautious and aware of the real-world possibilities. Cheers and best wishes to you for 2017.

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #22

another thought... in many countries the positivism approach is being copied without the same levels of consumer protection. That is another matter altogether. Happy New Year to you too.

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #21

#30
Phil Friedman, absolutely i agree and find your post relevant. Was just thinking out loud to have a way to refer back to it and remember it :)

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

Being overly optimistic can make us vulnerable and not see the world for what it is. Life is not a dress rehearsal, it's the real thing. Outstanding post, Phil. Happy New Year

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #19

#27
#29 Aurorasa, firstly, I think you may be a bit too sensitive. I tell lawyer jokes all the time (ask me about my Pfizer lawyer joke sometime) and I have at times criticizes "sharp" lawyers. But I have a number of lawyer-friends, and they do not take offense or feel defensive. A while back, I wrote a piece, "The Monetization of Desperation" ( https://www.bebee.com/producer/@friedman-phil/the-monetization-of-desperation ) in which I "criticize" people who take advantage of social media of those desperate to find work, including SOME resume writers, employment counselors. and job search coaches. The piece first appeared on LinkedIn, so you might imagine the reaction. But the good and honest people who deliver true value to clients in those areas did not take offense -- people like Marietta Gentles Crawford ( https://www.bebee.com/bee/marietta-gentles-crawford ), whom I would recommend without reservation to anyone needing help with branding, personal or business. Or John White, MBA, who operates Social Media Solutions. Cont... Pt II

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #18

#27
#29 Aurorasa -- Pt II -- Indeed I recently launched a writing-improvement course ( https://youtu.be/NclVfj7cJqA ). And if you wrote a piece criticizing people on SM who profess to teach writing, I would not take offense. I would just assume you were not talking about me. Because I know that I offer and deliver value. And I am confident that you do as well. So relax. Have a stein on me. And send me the tab. As to excessive positivity potentially doing damage, it does in business, if it leads to ignoring taking steps to deal with underperformance. I also think that propagation of the view that a positive attitude conquers all obstacles and problems often makes people feel failure more sharply than otherwise. As well, it denies the very real truth that, notwithstanding the best ideas and planning, and the hardest and most dedicated efforts, success is still sometimes a matter of happenstance and luck. As is failure. I agree with you when you say, "Positivity does neither mean ignoring reality nor being delusional or substituting discipline and action with affirmation." But your reasonable interpretation does not match what I often read on SM. And it is that I am targeting in my comments. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers and best wished to you for the coming New Year.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #17

#25
Devesh, I think that you and I agree -- for the most part. I think. What I am talking about here is how being overly optimistic in business can lead one to fail to prepare properly to mitigate damage, should things not go as planned. And that people who go around on Social Media telling the uninitiated and somewhat naive that all hurdle fall before a positive attitude, often actually cause harm. Thank you for reading and commenting. My best to you for the coming New Year.

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #16

if a person is in denial of the actual problems and suffering for it, its highly probable that the positivist mantra serves as an added distraction without a rational basis. The easiest way to connect is saying that the world doesn't understand that i am the special one, in time they will, till then stay positive. Its not about me, its about my profession which is a big part of me. Its better to understand the solution to the actual problem, positivity shall be the natural outcome. it is quite possible that self inflicted depression is the actual problem -- its just not an assumption that should be force fitted on anyone/self .

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #15

#23
Thanks, Kevin for reading and commenting. Obviously, I agree that planning is important, but believe it just as important to plan for potential bad results as well as for good ones. Some people can fail time and time again, and simply pick themselves up and go again -- indefinitely. Indeed, that may be one of the attributes of being a true entrepreneur. But most people cannot. So it is important, to my mind, to take steps to minimize the lingering damage caused by failure or miscalculation. Cheers!

Kevin Pashuk

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #14

Thanks for a great post Phil. Anything taken to extremes can cause grief. Being overly positive does not compensate for not planning.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #13

#19
Thanks, Jim, for the kind words. You are correct about what transpires to a large extent on SM. It could be a place for the free sharing of knowledge and experience worldwide, to all of our benefits. But instead, it has developed as a "place" of fantasy and self-delusion, where everyone who is unemployed styles him or herself an entrepreneur, where everyone with a little knowledge becomes a self-designated guru, and where people lionize the "fake it until you make it" pronouncements. We're constantly told by some that being positive always is the way to make things better for everyone. However, am contacted, more frequently than I would ever like, by people who have been drawn down the garden path by all the "positivism", and I see that underneath the veneer of good things happening for all, there is a muck of desperation and hurt caused by everyone thinking that everyone else is doing so well and has such a great life. (This BTW has been well documented by those researching the connection between SM and the increasing levels of depression in our society.) Which is why I think that unbridled positivism is not simply benign, but actually causes harm way too much of the time. Cheers for 2017 back to you, bud. Hope you're enjoying your time with your family. And I look forward to doing the next HE SAID HE SAID with you.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #12

#18
Max, because it is the end of 2016, although I refuse to enter into a discussion with you, I will answer your questions. 1) I generally respond to people who comment. However, in your case, I choose not to because the last time you "quit" beBee in a huff, you posted scurrilous and libelous untruths about me on your personal website. I reiterate that while I do not attempt to interfere with free expression on my posts, I am not under any obligation to answer or to pay attention to what you say. 2) For the record, I see virtually every comment that you make anywhere as self-centric and mostly full of claims that you are making about yourself. 3) I tag people in the comment thread because that is my prerogative and it is a way of assuring that certain people see the post involved. It is your prerogative to do the same with your own posts, and I don't give a damn whether it meets with your approval or not. 4) I checked your LinkedIn profile out of curiosity, after seeing your claim that you were one of the first 25,000 non-Influencer writers invited to "publish on LinkedIn" in 2014. However, I could find no posts or other evidence that you publishing on LI dates back prior to 2016. I draw the obvious conclusion, but make no further comment. 5) I have no interest in you or what you do or say. Which is why I generally do not comment on your posts or comments. And I would appreciate it if you would pay me the same courtesy. At least until beBee rolls out its "block" function, at which time the issue will quickly become moot. My best wishes back to you for a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year.

Jim Murray

Jim Murray

4 years ago #11

Outstanding, Phil. You are attacking the bullshit of social media with the reality of the the 3-D world. Too many people get convinced that they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur in the SM world. Most of them find out too late that it's way more complex than they ever would have imagined. You've done a great job of setting the record straight and giving people solid advice. You are also providing an excellent counterpoint to all the bullshit that appears here, there and everywhere on a mind numbingly consistent basis, kind of like the Nigerian prince spam in our email. The better people get at sorting this out, the sooner they can really figure out what they really want to do when they grow up. Happy New Year, my friend.

Randy Keho

Randy Keho

4 years ago #10

#5
Thanks, Phil I'm looking forward to a bull-chips free New Year's Day, but I'm sure they will re-appear the following day. Oops. It appears I've already broken my resolution to think positively. Damn. I hate when that happens.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #9

#11
Thanks for saying so, Don. Am reading the final version of your book "Riding Shotgun -- A book for men and the partners they care for" this weekend. The early selections already read lead me to anticipate a valuable experience. Best to Kate, you, and the kids for 2017,

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #8

#10
#12 Thank you, Michelle, for reading and commenting. And for sharing this post. Truth be told, you are my favorite Pollyanna. And my best wishes go out to you for a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year. Cheers!

don kerr

don kerr

4 years ago #7

Exceptionally good advice Phil Friedman. Won't be popular in some circles but like Buckley's Mixture (A Canadian cough syrup) tag line - it tastes awful and it works.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #6

Looking to drop best wishes for the coming New Year 2017 on Nicole Chardenet.. May 2017 prove to be a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year for you all. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #5

when writing this piece, I thought about your meteoric rise and how your success might lead some to believe it is easy, Candice \ud83d\udc1d Galek. Of course, those of us who are really in business know it isn't in the least easy. Or do you disagree? Cheers and best wishes to you for 2017 and beyond.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #4

Continuing best wishes for 2017 to my beBee friends and business honchos, including but not limited to John White, MBA.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #3

Dedicated with best wishes for the coming New Year 2017 to my BeeZers buddies, Jim Murray.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #2

#1
Thank you, Joseph, for reading and commenting. Cheers and best wishes for the coming New Year.

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #1

'Drowning in the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ by Irene Hackett. Thanks Phil Friedman!

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