Do you have THIS? If not, you won’t be a successful entrepreneur.

The Statue of Liberty

Seeing her gave all immigrants optimism for their new life

Do you want to know the secret trait of every entrepreneur? I know you do.

I did too and since I read about it in an article, I realized it’s gotten me to this point right now and it’s going to take me wherever I want to go.

Okay so you’re ready? Here it is.

One of the qualities that is most helpful in an aspiring entrepreneur is optimism. Without it you would be foolish to attempt risk. Consider those before us who against the greatest odds managed to start and build successful businesses.

Just as there is no atheist in a foxhole, the writer states, there is no pessimist in a successful start-up.

As an entrepreneur, so many of us have great ideas for businesses, but it isn’t the fear of failure that’s stopping us. Instead it’s the lack of optimism.

Let’s take a closer look at being an optimist.

Being an optimist

According to Webster, the definition of optimism is an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.

Why is it important to be an optimist?

As you taken in what’s happening in your life, it’s best to interpret the information and events with an optimistic mind-set, viewing what you see, hear and experience as more positive than negative. It’s seeing the glass as half full.

Being an optimist means that you view things in a good light and remain hopefully confident that things will turn out well for you.

When bad things happen, optimisim helps keeps things in perspective.

That’s why optimist view negative situations as temporary and something that can be handled or resolved.

Pessimists think it’s the end of the world.

Optimist don’t just sit around with a huge smile on their face, pretend everything is great, and use the power of positive thinking to make bad situations go away.

In fact, optimists are more likely to take action to address the problem than pessimists are.


Pessimits think that the problem can’t be resolved! There’s no solution. They see negative events and experiences as things that cannot be controlled or stopped so why even bother taking action to resolve it.

Optimists do something about it. There’s always a way. Because they have that attitude, optimists general have found to be happier, live longer, handle situations better, have better relationsips, and live healthier lifestyles.

Which came first? Optimism or success?


You might think “Well I’ll be an optimist when I’m successful and living the life I have always dreamt of. Till then, it’s hard to be an optimist when my life sucks.”


Think about someone successful you look up to. Do you think they got there because they are optimists? Or do you think they’re optimist because they’re successful?

I think it’s the former.

Did Michael Jordan come into the NBA with doubts of his abilities? No. Failure wasn’t an option for him. He wanted to be the greatest of all time.

The London Summer Olympics are this summer. What type of attitude do you think have gone through the athletes’ minds while training? They envision themselves as the best. Training hard isn’t enough. Anyone can do that.

There has to be optimism. Often times in sports, the mental edge is what separates the great from the good.

It’s the same in business and in life.

If you believe in success, you’ll be empowered to achieve it.

If you believe in failure, those messages will tend to lead you to experience that as well.

Which one will you choose?

The outcome could be beyond your imagination

You have to believe what you are doing will bring to you the best possible outcome. The reality is it could come up short, or it be exactly what we imagined.

Sometimes the outcome turns out even better.

If you listen to many interviews with successful people they’ll often say something like, “If you would have told me (insert number) years ago, that right now I’d be (insert amazing life example), I wouldn’t have believed you.”

It’s not about pure luck either. It’s creating their own luck through their actions and not thinking of failure.

I know what it’s like to have something turn out even better than I hoped for. When I created Photo 365, if someone told me it’d be App of the Week in the first month, I would have looked at them with crazy eyes.

I did believe that it would make some money. That was my goal. That’s why I wanted to develop an app in the first place. I would have been happy with any amount of passive income per day.

But to be featured? I’d be lying to you if I said I expected it to be featured by Apple.

The definition of optimism says “to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.”

That’s what I did and I didn’t realize it at the time.

When I think back, I realized I didn’t doubt myself during the development of it. I didn’t think it’d suck. I didn’t think I’d fail completely. It’s easy to say that now, but it’s so true now that I think about it.

In the past when trying to make money online, I never felt really good about it. I just saw the potential, but didn’t really think that’d be me.

This time I didn’t think “What if this doesn’t work out?” I just put my head down and focused on getting the best app I could to the App store.

You can become an optimist (it’s not too late!)

Optimist aren’t born. If you’re not one, it doesn’t mean you can’t be one.

Science has proven that the brain can form new neural pathways by focusing your attention on it and deliberate practice.

For example, if you’re learning a new language, new neural pathways begin to be formed to acquire and store the new language. These new pathways become stronger the more they are used, causing the likelihood of new long-term connections and memories.

Think about stroke patients. A specific part of their brain is damaged, such as speech, but through therapy and practice they can form new neural pathways to that part of the brain again and regain function. It’s amazing.

That’s why old habits are hard to break. The neural pathways are strong. If you keep giving attention to it, the pathway forever stays strong. I have a horrible habit of biting my nails. I bet those neural pathways are as strong as steel.

Could I form new neural pathways and weaken the nail biting ones? Science is saying I can. It’ll take serious focus and effort to break a lifetime habit like that, but it is possible.

Therefore it’s not too late to reprogram our brain to think like an optimist.

In the next post, I’ll help you with some ways to help you be more optimistic. Easy changes that you can make a part of your life.

Do you think you’re an optimist? Be honest with yourself.

If you found this post helpful, I’m sure it’ll be helpful to someone else. Please take a second to share it on Facebook or retweet it.

Chicken photo by antaean 
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46 responses to Do you have THIS? If not, you won’t be a successful entrepreneur.

  1. Being a optimist is a must just for every day life. If not then you become very un happy and life sucks. Of course there is the life of the eternal optimist and that is a Cubs fan. 100 years of optimism. Being a optimist is the first part, taking action puts it all in motion and keeps it rolling.
    The other side of fear is freedom and fortune favors the bold
    Have a great day

  2. Nice stuff Benny.

    I work with startup for a living, and optimism is a universal truth among the entrepreneurs I’ve worked with.

    Another universal truth is that they’re all okay with failure. Sounds counter intuitive, I know, but it’s not. They’re okay with failure because of the optimism. They know that through the failure they’ll learn big lessons that they’ll take to the next venture…that will surely succeed.

    Failure is so expected in startups that many big VCs (like Steve Blank) won’t even fund a startup founder who hasn’t failed multiple times. Imagine working in an arena where failure is viewed so positively. THAT’s some unique optimism.

  3. Optimism is probably the best tip for entrepreneur who wants to be successful. There’s no time to worry and be sad, life has tons of chances for you. If only you can catch one of them, you’ll be successful. So don’t worry, be optimism and go ahead 🙂

  4. I used to be the most optimistic guy in the world. When I was 22, I felt like I couldn’t lose. Things have change, I got super fat, super pessimistic, and started failing at everything. It was a terrible downward cycle.

    But now I’m back to it, lost the weight, changed course, and working every day on building that optimism back up.

    The biggest thing I’ve done to help my optimism recently is to write myself a letter from my future self, 5 years from now. I explained where my business was, the house I lived in, the trips I took, the time I got to spend with my wife and kids, the people I’ve helped, etc. etc. It’s been huge to go back and read that when I’m feeling pessimistic!

    • Awesome Graham! That’s a great idea to write to your future self. Everyone should try that to stay focused when times are tough.

  5. Optimism is so important. It’s closely related to the resilience we need when we face setbacks, disappointments and failures as entrepreneurs. When you have a crappy day or lose a client or launch a product that doesn’t take off, you have to learn from it and believe that tomorrow will be better. It’s easy to let pessimism set in and view setbacks as indications that we will fail.

  6. You’re definitely right here Benny! Optimism is essential for seeing success as an entrepreneur. A great example of this is the sheer number of people who essentially quit internet marketing and entrepreneurship in general after the Panda and Penguin updates. Tons of people threw in the towel instead of learning from their mistakes, rethinking their strategies, and working their asses off until they were successful again.

    I just watched an interview with Barbara Corcoran on Rise to the Top and in it she mentions how when she was first starting off it was her optimism that kept her going. With her first profits, she even bought an expensive coat which made her feel like she was a powerful businesswomen, giving her the optimism to keep working hard and to not give up – and look where she is now!


    • Thanks for sharing that info about Barbara’s interview. I’ll have to go listen to it. That’s an awesome piece of advice. It’s kinda like “fake it till you make it” and “act as if”. I bet so many are upset though over the Google updates. It’s gotta be a tough situation to be in if they were making a lot of money. You’re right some will quit, but some will find another way.

  7. Hey Benny, this is so true.

    Myself I tend to swing back and forth at times it seems, when things are going great, the hours flow by like nothing and I seem to accomplish a ton each day.

    Other times when things are going poorly my optimism fades and my productivity goes down while the hours seem to grow.

    I’ll have to focus on pushing harder to get through those barriers I guess.

    • We all have our ups and downs. There isn’t a smooth road paved for something we so badly want to achieve. If everything was easy and problem free, everyone would be living their dream life! When you have those bad times, sometimes it’s best to step away, relax, do something else. In my next post, I’ll have some ways to be more optimistic and maybe it’ll help you in those rough times. Thanks for leaving a comment!

      • So true, I think from now on when I think of how difficult a situation or circumstance is (relating to my business) I”ll remember that the more difficult the less competitive! LOL 🙂

  8. Love the blog! When I first saw the picture and the question “Do you want to know the secret trait of every entrepreneur?” I immediately thought HOPE! Then I read that definition of optimism from Webster. That is sooo true. If you know you can do it then you go about finding solutions and taking action. If you have a bad day then you have to dig deep and look at the things that are going for you. The best thing about it is that you are in control of your outcome.

    • Thank you Lisa! It’s great to meet you! We’re going to have bad days. We’re going to have days where we question what we’re doing. It’s optimism that’s going to keep us moving forward towards our goal. You’re right in that we get to control the outcome! The best is when the outcome turns out even better than we imagined!

  9. Benny this is spot on! As a person who is optimistic I can’t but to agree, agree and agree more with this. I remember when I started my blog, I never saw myself as writer, honestly I didn’t think I could write. However I did believe in what I was doing and just pushed forward.

    Same with my apparel. I didn’t think “Wait I’m not a fashion designer” or “who am I kidding”. I just did it because I felt good about it, and it made me feel good.

    One should never doubt their abilities, we all have something unique to share with this world : )

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. I can relate about writing. I never excelled at English in high school, but it was a medium I wanted to pursue. It feels good. Our abilities don’t come out unless we try and put it out there for the world to see. They do no good inside of us. That’s a great point to remember for anyone who’s is unsure if they should try something. Awesome comment Jeremy!

  10. “Pessimists think that the problem can’t be resolved! There’s no solution. They see negative events and experiences as things that cannot be controlled or stopped so why even bother taking action to resolve it.

    Optimists do something about it. There’s always a way. Because they have that attitude, optimists general have found to be happier, live longer, handle situations better, have better relationships, and live healthier lifestyles.”

    I SO needed this post today, Benny. I’ve been at the end of my rope lately with the pessimists that fill my office, and no matter how much I try to ignore them and go about my optimistic business (I’ve given up on trying to infuse THEM with a little optimism), they still bring me down just because of the doom and gloom atmosphere around them. This post was exactly the boost I needed to remind myself that their bad attitudes shouldn’t bring ME down; if anything, I should feel sorry for them because they’re limiting their lives so much with their Eeyore mentality.

    • Pessimists will be pessimists. It sucks to be around them I know. We can’t control them no matter how much we try to. We can only control our reaction to it. I know it’s hard to control, but it’s the only thing we can control. Let them live their miserable lives with their miserable attitudes, while you ignore it and know that in your mind, you won’t let them bring you down to their level!

  11. I’ve been actively working on this for the past 3 years or so & I can’t believe the difference it’s made! The way I got at this was by hearing someone say that the strongest leaders are the ones who adapt easily and aren’t easily deterred by change. As a result of trying to be flexible and unwilling to let change take me out it’s made me more optimistic…I guess I’ve also realized how much this has been tested in these least three years —probably the hardest of my life. I can’t imagine what these last three years would be like –or where I’d be now– if I hadn’t really employed flexibility & optimism! GREAT POST…it’s a good reminder to be responsible for yourself and your emotions no matter what’s going on around you.

    • Being willing to change and adapt is another huge key! Many hate change so are unwilling to. The ones who truly have success can adapt easily like you said. Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m sure these next three years will be even better!

  12. This are good stuff and nice article. I love the pictures you have and also the chicken.

    Anyway I am new here in this blog, I am an optimist and for me being an optimist can get you to a good success.

  13. It’s good to be optimistic as long as you’re not attached to the fruit of action otherwise its painful when the desire result is negative.

    • I have become more and more optimistic over the years and I believe I will keep becoming more optimistic. Incidentally, I’ve seen myself taking more action and thus getting more success.

      So all in all this article rang true for me.

      • Glad to hear that Jarkko. I believe when we get more success, we get more confidence and therefore more optimistic about what we can achieve.

  14. Kevin Gabbard June 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    If at first you don’t succeed try until you get it right. 🙂 There is no room in any successful business for negativity. Keep a positive outlook and know that tomorrow is another day, learn from your mistakes, and make the mistakes work for you in a positive way the next time.

  15. Thanks for your tips on improving optimisim. It is something I struggle with as I have always been pessimistic by default. I envy those who are always able to remain positive and optimistic with a smile on their faces through everything.


  16. Inspirational post Benny and I love that letter writing strategy Graham. While there is life there is hope and while there is hope there is life.

  17. Mark D.French June 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    It’s really good to be positive not only in business but in all aspects of our life, every problems we encounter must have a solution and we can learn from it.

  18. Benny, you are probably one of the most optimistic people I know.

    I think most people want or wish they could be more optimistic but the problem is they don’t know how. I’ve met so many people in my life that were just downers. They only see the negative and they bring you down and start filling your mind up with negative ions and negative crap.

    I just want to add that if you want to be more optimistic you also have to take steps to remove the negative downers in your life and fill them up with positive people. People who you want to emulate or people who are like you. This is one thing i have found the internet is good for. It’s how i found you and people like you keep me positive. Hopefully i keep other people positive too.

    Thanks Benny for my daily dose of optimistic motivation. 🙂

    • Thanks Annie! I didn’t become this way by accident. You’re so right about surrounding yourself with positive people and not the downers. I’m positive I wouldn’t be where I am now and where I want to go without being surrounded w/ people like you! I’ll be sure to add that to the follow up post on how to become more optimistic. Thanks Annie!

  19. Another, yet another great article from you again this time around. I so much love this and thanks for bringing it out.

    Optimism helps in all areas of life – either online or offline. Whatever you believe in and do the right thing (work smart) no matter how long it will take you, just continue as one day, you will reach your goals.

    My ex saw me 2 days ago and she was advising me to go back to school and get degree blah blah blah… I listened to her and said thank you!

    Now that I am working my ass out online none of them sees me, by the time I am cashing on my cheques and making seven figures a month, then they will know how optimistic I am.

    Thanks Benny for been such an inspiration!


    • Thanks Sheyi! Definitely don’t listen to your ex. There’s a reason she’s your ex. LOL. Sometimes friends like to think they know what’s best for us. Keep on hustling and working hard and show all of them that you know exactly what you’re doing.

  20. Great Post.hanks for bringing out this article

  21. Hey Benny, great post on optimism. One of the most important books I ever read was Seligman’s Learned Optimism. It change me in some very serious ways. But the title tells the whole story. We can, in fact, become optimistic even if we’re very pessimistic today. But it takes action and effort. Your post here does a great service to those still struggling under the weight of pessimism. Well done!

    • That sounds like an interesting book. I’ll have to add it to my reading list. I do hope that some reading out there realize that they don’t have to be pessimists. They can change!

  22. Being positive is enough to achieve success and everything around
    us positive. thanks for the great post.

  23. Interesting topic you brought up here Benny! This post reminded me of my kiddo years. Actually, what i noticed is that entrepreneurs and business minded persons are born with these abilities- to spot opportunities, optimistic, and persistence. This is just an observation though. Optimism plays a major role in keeping an entrepreneur pursuing its goals. I would agree with what you said that it isn’t fear or failure that’s stopping us, it’s lack of optimism. This is totally true!

  24. Wade | Wellness July 2, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Great post Benny. My wife accuses me of seeing glasses where there are no glasses. (Think glass half full, half empty) 🙂

  25. Hey Benny,

    I’m with you on the optimism front – I’m an idealist by nature, always seeking ways to make things better and more harmonious for everyone concerned. My ultimate goal is to make the world a more harmonious place, but I know that requires a lot of hard work and optimism 😉

    I never really understood the virtues of being negative for negative’s sake. If something happens, then it will happen whether we’re positive or negative about it. So why not be positive? Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has shown that our thoughts and beliefs have an effect on our immune system – if we want a healthier immune system, then healthier thoughts will work towards it. Likewise, if we want to get ill, thinking ‘doom’ thoughts will propel us there.

    We have the choice, so to me, it’s common sense to be positive and optimistic 🙂

  26. Faissal Alhaithami July 5, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Definitely, one of the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur is their optimism. How will you be able to take risks until you’re an optimist?

    Thanks for these great tips!

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