“Nurture an insane optimism!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
This was a comment made on stage yesterday by the outgoing Chairman of the Western Growers Association. He was making the point that in the face of a volatile industry – with challenges related to weather, climate, costs, labor shortages, and more – the typical farmer must be insanely optimistic at all times.
With that in mind, think about the honorable profession of farming — it’s been around almost since the beginning of time. And it’s a profession that has involved a lot of trial and error; failure and success; and a heck of a lot of innovation.
Often, during a keynote, I will tell the story that there are really two different types of farmers in the agricultural industry. And I make the point to the audience that their attitude towards innovation should be considered in the light of the attitudes carried by each type of farmer.
The first type of farmer is what we might call the ‘apathetic minority’, who share these attributes:
- they are not optimistic about the future
- they tend to seek the “same old advice” from the “same old sources”
- they have a high intolerance for risk
- they’re not convinced they can continue to make a comfortable living despite all the contrary evidence
- they’re skeptical of their potential since they feel they’ve seen too many ups and downs in the industry
Then there is the second group we might call the ‘future positive‘ type of farmer. They share these attributes :
- they’re quite optimistic about the future
- they’re very business-minded, using all the latest tools and ideas at their disposal
- they are very innovation-oriented, willing to approach everything in a new way with new ideas
- they are very collaborative for advice, seeking ideas from anyone and everyone
- they’re often focused on planning, profit, and growth, with clear objectives in mind
So here’s a good question: when it comes to you, or the organization that work for, what type of farmer are you?
Do you nurture your mind with an insane amount of optimism?