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The Stockdale Paradox

One of my most memorable takeaways from Jim Collins’ excellent book, Good to Great, was The Stockdale Paradox.

According to Collins, a U.S. Navy Admiral was attributed to having been well known for it.

It’s simple and yet very powerful if you will take a moment to consider it.

It goes like this:

“Retain faith that you will prevail in the end regardless of difficulties AND at the same time . . . confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

You see, most people are pessimists and don’t have enough faith that they will succeed. On the other hand, many optimists believe things will work out well, but are unwilling to face the realities of the situation. They practice “Pollyanna Thinking” instead of positive thinking.

Having a positive outlook while being willing to see and acknowledge how bad things may be is something few people are able to do.

It’s something to think about.

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