Optimists Will Inhert The Earth

Pessimism is the order of the day. It appears that the proliferation of media and news sources (online as well as offline) has fueled the fire of pessimism. The old adage that no news is good news has a corollary that all news is bad news.

I agree that things are quite bad in most places in the world – economically, socially and politically. I also agree that from the depth of this hollow the outlook is bleak and one cannot fathom how things will ever get better again. However, one thing of which I, and my fellow optimists, are certain is that things will get better. Change is the only constant in the universe and everything is impermanent.

Human beings are a very adaptable species and we’ve survived over millennia due to our ability to adapt to an ever changing environment. When push comes to shove, we do get going. Obviously how things will shape up or appear will depend on the adaptive responses of billions of us. But as each of us pursues the improvement of our individual situations in life, collectively the world will get better. Some may call this an unknown unknown but the optimists believe that it is a known unknown. The future will be better than the present; just don’t ask us how we’ll get there.

Look back at your own life. So many things have happened that could never have been anticipated or expected ahead of time (both positive and negative). However, we’ve experienced both positives and negatives. If change was not the law of nature, there would be at least a few who would experience only negative unexpected events and a few who would experience only positive unexpected events, but there are none. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most of our individual lives are an aggregation of these positive and negative unexpected events.

Investing is an exercise in optimism, not unlike farming. We invest capital today to get back our capital together with a return on that capital in the future. Someone with a pessimistic mindset investing capital is playing the game with two strikes against him or her. To paraphrase the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky, investing is about skating to where the puck is going to be and not where it has been. As investors, we are better off focusing on the positive future than on the negative present.

Optimists will indeed inherit the earth, because the pessimists will have quit a long time ago!