Hopeful. Cheerful. Ready. Bright. Innovative.
While these words may be used to describe an optimist, there really is no synonym for optimism. It can be hard to define, and to some degree is quite a subjective concept.
So 60 years after Norman Vincent Peale first published it, why is The Power of Positive Thinking still such a hot topic?
It’s not because we love to smile.
According to a recent study by Tali Sharot and colleagues from NYU, there is a neuroscience to optimism. The brain can function to “help us imagine future events by assessing our emotions from similar past events.” The parts of our brain may actually work together to downplay negative emotional responses.
In fact, Sharot points out in her Februrary 2012 TED Talk, people are partial to “looking forward.” For this reason, Friday (a workday) ranks higher than Sunday when asking people’s favorite days of the week. Friday is a day of optimism.
So what does that mean for marketers?
Optimism leads to success.
No one makes negative goals. Businesses don’t generally develop objectives that are pessimistic, just as individuals don’t make New Year’s resolutions that are.
Appealing to the optimistic side in all of us is a way to change behavior because it’s the side of the individual that wants to change behavior.
Whether appealing to that customer that is searching for a way to lose that extra 20 points or a prospect that is looking to save 10 percent in business process costs, the appeal of optimism is a strong sell. How we see the world really can make the difference.
How will optimism make you take action in the new year?
- New TED Book: The Science of Optimism (ted.com)