Susie, my wife, booked us to go and see a film on Sunday evening – “The best exotic Marigold Hotel”. A very funny film and well worth watching! You can’t leave the film and not remember the line that one of the leading characters, Sonny, keeps saying throughout the film:
“Everything will be all right in the end; if it’s not alright then it’s not the end.”
Apparently this is a quote of the Brazilian writer Fernando Sabino: “No fim tudo dá certo, e se não deu certo é porque ainda não chegou ao fim” – but I am not sure if he really was the originator or not. Doesn’t matter. It is a great quote. Actually, Susie has often quoted the first bit at me and it is strange, but somehow, everything always does work out in the end….
Anyway, it got me thinking back to the Thursday Thoughts theme two weeks ago about optimism – and the Optimist’s Creed.
And so it was that last night I got to Chapter 24 in Daniel Kahneman’s Book “Thinking, fast and slow” (which I started to review last week) only to find that this chapter – entitled “The Engine of Capitalism” is all about optimism too! Or perhaps, more accurately, over-optimism. Coincidence or what?
Kahneman summarises in a section entitled “COMPETITION NEGLECT“:
“It is tempting to explain entrepreneurial optimism by wishful thinking, but emotion is only part of the story. Cognitive biases play an important role, notably the System 1 WYSIATI (What you see is all there is):
- We focus on our goal, anchor on our plan, and neglect relevant base rates, exposing ourselves to the planning fallacy.
- We focus on what we want to do and can do, neglecting the plans and skills of others
- Both in explaining the past and in predicting the future, we focus on the causal role of skill and neglect the role of luck. we are therefore prone to an illusion of control.
- We focus on what we know and neglect what we do not know, which makes us overly confident in our beliefs.
What was more extraordinary is that as I was reading this, a good friend and follower of this stream, David Brunnen wrote to me and sent me this link: http://www.innovationpolicy.org/my-new-book-title-eh-the-future-will-be-okay with the comment: “Worth a read I think – partly because of his realistic assessment of US R&D funding and partly because Rob gets close to the tendency that has long-plagued the ICT world – eternal optimism and hype.”
Even more coincidence. Anyone else thinking about optimism, over-optimism and the way we think about the future? Please join in the flow by commenting below!