Rational Optimism Is the Way Out
Naval: Professions in which you get your feedback from other members of that profession tend to get corrupted.
When you see a journalist writing articles to impress other journalists or a restaurant owner trying to impress other foodies and restaurant owners, it’s usually not practical or high-quality.
The journalist or restaurant owner may receive accolades within certain elite circles, but that doesn’t reflect reality.
A scientist or an experimentalist gets feedback from Mother Nature, and an entrepreneur gets feedback from a free market in which people vote with their money and time. Those are much better predictors.
People who get paid to operate in the real world tend to be optimistic. People who operate in ivory towers are incentivized to be pessimists.
Brett: To be an entrepreneur, you need to be optimistic about the fact that you’re creating something that other people are going to find value in.
People who have a pessimistic philosophy tend to have a pessimistic psychology as well.
If you’re constantly thinking about all the ways in which the world is going to wreck and ruin, then this has a day-to-day impact on your outlook on everything—the rest of society, your family, and your friends—because you think this world is condemned.
You’re going to feel that weight on your shoulders, and that’s going to come through in how you present yourself to the rest of the world.
We see a lot of this on social media. Entrepreneurs are typically too busy to spend a whole lot of time on social media, but you get scientists, academics and journalists who are depressed with life because they have a pessimistic view of reality. That impacts their subjective experience of the world.
On the other hand, people who are creating are trying to bring something new into existence.
Naval: Unfortunately, pessimism is self-fulfilling.
Here we take the stance that all evils are due to lack of knowledge. Rational optimism is the way out. The data supports it, and history supports it.
Through creativity, we can always come up with good explanations to improve our lives and everybody else’s lives.
So stay optimistic.