HALF A GLASS, EITHER WAY

Sharing an article published by copywriting expert John Forde in his November 4 “Copywriters Roundtable” newsletter. It discusses one of my favorite Law of Attraction principles about optimism.

HALF A GLASS, EITHER WAY

Speaking of reflection, I came across an article the other day, about some Harvard research. 

In it, they were talking about how to hire good employees and what traits to look for. 

Of course there are many that matter. e.g. smarts, curiosity, an aversion to using flamethrowers during board meetings…

But, per the research, one that stood out was… optimism. When future employees were picked based on an optimistic outlook alone, they tended to work out best for the company. 

Oh please, I hear the devout pessimist in you saying, as you roll your eyes. The best way to never be disappointed is to always expect the worst. Unless, of course, you were counting on the worst and things turn out well. In which case, bummer. Because you’ll be mad things went so well.

Pessimists, you’ll say, always have a contingency plan ready. By not trusting people, they don’t get taken advantage of. 

And so on.

And yet, Harvard researcher Shawn Achor who ran the study (Google his TED talk), you’ll be happy to know you’re wrong. Optimists, for one, outperform pessimists by a big margin.

MET Life, the big insurance company, was one of the case studies Achor presented. The firm experimented by using an aptitude test to find more optimistic sales people. 

Those that did better on the test outsold their pessimistic counterparts by 19% in the first year… and nearly 60% in the second.  

But what about things like intelligence or experience? Sorry, says Achor’s research.

Great grades in school were about as predictive of career success as rolling a pair of dice, says Achor. Likewise with technical skill.

About 75% of a person’s career success, his team found, came down to three factors, all of them closely tied to life outlook:

First, the “believe that our behavior matters in the midst of challenge” or a decision to remain optimistic…

Second, the “depth and breadth of social relationships” or whether you’ve got good friends, which are infinitely easier to get when you’re not a “Don or Debbie Downer”… 

And third, the way one perceives stress, which is also enormously dependent on whether you see it as an obstacle or opportunity.

Short version, says Achor, the idea that “Success breeds happiness” is exactly backward. Rather, “Happiness breeds success.”

Again, the grinding sound of rolling eyes is, perhaps, deafening. But consider…

* The optimistic man — or woman — tends to have better health, faster recovery time from illness and even surgery, and — cliché of the cranky old man be damned – live longer.

* The U.S. army teaches — orders — soldiers to be more optimistic because they’ve found that in combat and other tough situations, it makes them act tougher and more persistent.

* Simply expecting a more positive outcome in a negotiation tends to lead to better deal outcomes. 

* Socially optimistic people tend to have more friends, more perceived luck, and — because happiness and gratitude even more of the same — a self-renewing resource of, well, optimism.

In our industry, selling products, the optimists tend to find the passion they need for products they can believe in. 

They also have a much easier time identifying with the same hopeful mindset their prospects share.

Can optimism be learned?

No, you’ll say if you’re pessimist, absolutely not. And who would want to learn it if they could? But Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, a 20-year vet of clinical psychology, says yes it can.

They key, he says, is learning how to fix your explanatory style. Change the story you tell yourself, so to speak. 

According to Seligman and a list that was reproduced by the wise folks over at bakadesuyo.com, you need to focus on what they call the “3 Ps” of Permanence, Pervasiveness, and whether events are Personal. 

The pessimist, for instance, sees bad events as long lasting or even permanent situations, universally true application, and as the result of a personal attack or flaw. 

The optimist, however, sees bad times as temporary, as a result of something specific and relative, and as something more random than personal.

And then those same views flip in good times, e.g. pessimists are sure the good stuff can’t last, rarely happen, and are random; optimists feel like the good times are typical, long-lasting, and something they can take credit for helping to cause.

It doesn’t matter, by the way, if the “real” facts support the pessimist position. And this is important, since pessimists often fall back on the rationalization, “I’m not a pessimist, I’m just a realist.” Often, they ARE more accurate. But also fail more, as a result.

That seems illogical, perhaps. But the bottom line is, as a result of their differing outlooks, pessimists quit. A lot. But optimists don’t. And that’s where the difference comes into play.

Sure, sometimes optimism can put you in a seriously foolish position (e.g. “I’m probably strong enough to wrestle that tiger.”) 

Say the researchers, you need to ask yourself what the risks of a failure might be. If it’s high, like — say — death, then you might want to reevaluate. 

But if it’s something low, like whether you’ll succeed at getting a sale or a job or giving a good speech or a date, then look up not down, for better results.

Hope, says yet another study, is a better predictor of personal achievements than your grades in school, IQ, or personality. 

To get some, try channeling your thoughts to mirror those three key “P’s” — in problem situations, redefine them as temporary; find the ways in which they’re specific to a current situation rather than universally true; and look for external causes, rather than “all-my-fault” causes. 

Andrew Foss – Restaurant Letter

Fresh Seafood so Amazing

it’s Worth a Trip Down the Shore this Weekend

 

drawingI am a sucker for fresh seafood. And for me, the fresher the better. I was just driving past the local Red Lobster and the yearning for a cup of real clam chowder was too strong to deny.

 

So I’ve hatched up a plan to take a trip down the shore to one of my favorite seafood restaurants, Smitty’s, this Saturday, and hope that you will come along.

 

Have you been to a restaurant that left such an impression on you that it was worth driving 120 miles for dinner?

 

You see, every summer at Ocean City, we make out annual pilgrimage to Smith’s Clam Bar for our wild and crazy family meal “out” while on vacation. And Smitty’s never fails to please – in so many ways!

 

I can still feel the sweltering heat, sitting out front in the afternoon sun waiting for a table. Luckily there is a breeze whipping up the salt air from the marina to cool you off. Also there are the cold Corona’s, just picked up from the Circle Liquor Store for dinner (remember, it’s BYOB).

 

Waiting patiently on the benches, you can kick around the crunched-up bleach-white clamshells that pave the parking lot. All the while you see the hustle and bustle of the staff running back and forth with steaming trays of food. At this point, the beer comes in handy as the wait for a table can take hours – you can always take a seat at the bar if you are in a hurry though.

Smits-menu

Once your name is called, get ready for fresh seafood. While there are always the faithful standbys (clam chowder, steamers, fried calamari), the surprise comes when you see the chef’s selections for the day. And the fare reflects what’s fresh off the boat, prepared in ways unexpected from a Jersey Shore, bayside seafood shack.

 

And if there is any doubt in your mind that I have been less than accurate, check out some of the reviews I found on Yelp:

 

Smitty’s Clam Bar is such a classic hole-in-the-wall seafood eatery.  It’s always crowded because it’s good.  Somehow, the seafood tastes fresher here … maybe it isn’t any fresher from other restaurants in the area – but the barebones atmosphere in a shack-like building directly on the bay in Somers Point just gives it that extra sea water and salt air flavoring. - Jeff H.  Margareten, Vienna, Austria

 

Best clam chowder and fresh out of the water flounder are the supreme staples at this shore standout. Cole slaw and corn salad are two solid sides. Clam strips are a favorite app as well as top necks (so fresh as relatively cheap).   Byob. Worth the wait, try the bar if you can’t. Take out available. Cash only.  -  Will O. Ardmore, PA

 

The clam chowder was delicious.  It was thick and full of clams just like how I like it.  We also ordered all of the types of clams that they had available that day.  It was definitely fresh and not fishy tasting.  If it is a clam bar, of course we had to try it all!  Also, we decided to share amongst the two of us one of the baked seafood dishes in white wine and butter.   - Kathy D.  Manhattan, NY

 

So about my plan for Saturday. Linda and I secured babysitting for a jaunt down to OC for an early dinner at Smitty’s. Join us for one of the more memorable seafood experiences you will have this fall. We plan to hit Somers Point at 4:00, and would love to see you there. It’s a bit of a drive, but worth every mouthwatering bite!

 

Hope to see you

 

Andrew Foss

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget to stop at The Circle Liquor Store for Coronas or a bottle of white wine to go with dinner!

 

P.P.S. Consider making it a weekend, like Linda and I will. This time of year there are always vacancies at the Days Inn. And Smitty’s Breakfast Shop will be waiting in the morning!

Happy Monday! 8/11/2014

Happy Monday! There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. Make this week an adventure!

Adventure

Often the beginning of a week needs simply an inspiration to take it to a level of amazing. So as you venture out into the world, do it with open eyes. Eyes open to adventure. Eyes open to potential. With your eyes open, you can attract anything.

 

Project Forward

I was visited by the future last night in the form of an idea. An inspiration for creating direction in life. And I immediately named this inspiration “Project Forward.”

forward

It began when a Facebook friend sent me a simple message asking me to “like” and comment on one of his posts. This form of reciprocal linking is common, so I quickly did it. It was the post that started the juices flowing. And formed an idea. You see, the post was one about business opportunities and staying positive. And it reminded me of a number of the business programs I have been involved in in the past, and the theme of continuing to move forward with them. Whether it be by following a specific process or formula.

So I decided last night that “Forward it is” and dedicated myself to take this to another level. Where is it going?

Stay tuned.