Stubborn Optimism


I've recently listened to this episode of the TED Radio Hour, my favorite podcast. It explores climate change and how we need to shift our mindsets before taking action. One of the guests in that episode is Christiana Figueres, the diplomat that lead 194 countries to sign the Paris Agreement in 2015.

She talked about the idea of stubborn optimism; working against the odds to accomplish an immensely beneficial goal. I'm really impressed and empowered by her & her team's achievements. Getting all those different countries, often with very stubborn leaders, to sign such an agreement is a great success. And yes, I know that not everyone's been following diligently the rules set out by the agreement. But still, the success is there.

This made me think about why we give up. Why do great, thoughtful people give up doing great things? I've seen many people going through the process of giving up. My friends, my family, people I follow.

I think there's one answer: we're not stubborn enough. We don't realize that we can't care about the doubters.

I wonder how many great inventions wouldn't be here today if their inventors wouldn't be stubborn. How many opportunities would be lost.

And I'm not saying that criticism is bad. It's a completely different thing, and it should always be accounted for. Or at least when it's constructive.

Once in a while humanity will need a racehorse with blinders. For the sake of change.

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