Video: An Interview with a “Professional Optimist!”


Here’s a little bit of fun – I decided to do an interview with one of the most optimistic people I know!

The backstory? What’s going to happen in 2022, when it is pretty evident that volatility is the new normal? I find myself wondering about that as we start to enter our third year of the global pandemic – and living in a reality that involves a strange contradiction of attitudes towards where we find ourselves at this very moment in time. And so, a few weeks back I wrote my “10 Phrases That Might Define 2022!” They are listed below.

One of the key phrases is ”relentless optimism’ – and thinking of this, I decided to look around to find someone who focuses on optimism. I found him, and lined up an interview – he’s recently branded himself as a “Professional Optimist.

Here’s the genesis of the idea: way back in 2005, I wrote a blog post, “10 Great Words for 2006“, that outlined my thoughts on how to align to an accelerating future. The words were steeped in optimism, brewed in the cauldron of hope. They became a huge hit and formed the basis for many of my keynotes over the years. In fact, the list became the closing segment of many of those talks, as I noticed an increasing number of people writing it down out in the audience – so I rolled it into a nice-looking PDF.

So where do I find myself now? I’m pondering the last word on my list for 2021 – redo – because it looks like we might get to do it all over again! With that in mind, what’s my thought process for 2022? Maybe it’s the current reality as we find ourselves trapped in a never-ending cycle of Covid waves, a weary population, and an uncertain environment that implicates the certainty of our future, my mindset is focused on these issues:

  • hopeful resilience: we’re all developing an outer shell of determined resistance to the complexity of our world, demonstrated by our battle for hope. This leads to …
  • relentless optimism: this is both good and bad – we have to fight to be optimistic in the face of unwavering challenges. But we know that this is happening in the context of…
  • pervasive volatility: if the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that the unexpected can always be expected – and just when you thought it was over, a volatile future keeps coming back at you … leading us into a mindset of…
  • restless determination: in the face of this volatility, we find ourselves determined to try to move forward – until we feel slammed about the head and decide to pull back on our initiative, which causes us to fall into the trap of the…
  • sporadic pursuit of opportunity: we find ourselves caught in a pattern in which we are moving forward, and then pause until we decide to start moving forward again until we pause, leading to…
  • the paradox of active inaction: causing ourselves to fall into an ongoing trap of action followed by inaction followed by much of the same, so we focus on developing…
  • flexibility, adaptability, agility: the only way to battle through the paradox is to adopt a mindset in which we can adapt, move fast, align to new realities, accept our ever-changing, more complex world… but this becomes difficult because we need to always be…
  • focusing on avoiding squandered opportunity: because our focus on what we can do to keep active in the face of uncertainty defines our future, but this can be difficult because we find our optimism shattered because we are…
  • battling the presence of incessant incivility: it’s become so bad that people are now disagreeing about the need to agree to disagree and to go against that we must focus on….
  • manufacturing personal invincibility: and so my action plan going forward is to continue to feed my factory of optimism.

Does that make sense? That’s what I’m carrying with me into 2022!

Closing off, here’s the original 10 Great Words outline – visit 10 Great Words:

10 Great Words



THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.