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If we can brim with confidence, success will always follow; Columnist.

Byline: Steve Grainger

WOULDN'T it be great if there was some sort of magic ingredient that you could add to a business that would increase its chances of success? Or a magic ingredient that you could take yourself that would improve your chances of achieving your goals and reaching your full potential? Or even a magic ingredient you could mix into the whole economy that could help it grow and flourish so that we can all continue to prosper and finally rid ourselves of Robert Peston's gloomy outlooks? Sounds a bit fanciful but perhaps such a magic ingredient already exists.

Perhaps it's right in front of our noses - free and available to anyone who wishes to use it. Indeed, perhaps the magic ingredient is simply good old-fashioned "confidence".

Anyone who has ever played or watched sport will understand just what a potent force confidence can be. That set of players who only a few weeks ago looked hopeless, with a couple of wins under their belt now have a collective "confidence" and suddenly look like world beaters.

And that magic power translates to businesses and individuals too. Confident businesses tend on the whole to do well, whereas those that have lost confidence tend to struggle. And those confident businesses tend to be run by confident people who nurture confidence within other people and so the whole cycle continues.

So given that, you'd think businesses and individuals would naturally be awash with confidence. It clearly improves the odds of success so common sense would suggest it should be our natural state.

Sadly though, confidence has its enemies. Enemies which have the power to erode and eat away at it until there is nothing much left. And chief amongst these is "pessimism".

I must confess at this point to having somewhat of a bugbear with serial pessimists and complainers. Everyone knows someone of the type I'm taking about - the glass isn't just half empty, it's dirty, it's chipped and they didn't much like what was in it in the first place anyway.

The thing is, it's not just the fact that talking to such people drains the spirit so (which it does!), it's that this negativity can have a tangible effect on performance.

After all, why bother trying something if you believe it's going to fail? And even if you do go ahead, your initial belief that it will fail will almost certainly ensure that it does.

And just as confidence can be contagious, so too can pessimism. Worse still, pessimism is the more powerful of the two forces so it can all too easily become the prevalent mood. After all, even just a few pessimistic voices harping on about what "could go wrong" can prevent all but the most hardened confidents from being able to see past the problems and into the opportunities and rewards that might arise if "things go right".

From a business perspective this is more than just annoying, it's commercially disastrous - it stops people doing great things and ultimately prevents businesses achieving their potential.

So pessimism is clearly a bad thing, and I propose that we should all do our best to banish it from our lives. It won't be easy - just as it apparently takes fewer muscles to frown than it does to smile, nature has decreed that it is easier to be pessimistic than confident - but the rewards for achieving it could be great.

Confidence is an enabler. It allows that good idea to get off the ground rather than remain buried under the weight of reasons why it shouldn't.

It provides a platform that allows you to see over the wall of "things that might go wrong" and view the potential opportunities and rewards that could come if "things go right".

So, if we're looking for a magic ingredient for the economy my tip would be that as individuals we stop worrying about the Greek national debt, the Eurozone crisis, England's tricky left-sided midfielder dilemma and indeed all of the other things that we can't directly affect, and focus our energies on all the fantastic and great things we CAN do. Have confidence in ourselves and our own ability to do things, ignore the whining of the doom-mongers and I'm confident everything will turn out just grand after all.

Steve Grainger is MD of Enigma Interactive - a specialist digital development agency based in Newcastle and London and a supporter of Newcastle NE1 Ltd www.enigma-interactive.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 29, 2012
Words:743
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