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Passion and Optimism

This page was prepared for The Centre for Optimism roundtable "Passion and Optimism" led by Australasia's Passion Provocateur Charles Kovess who told the Centre for Optimism's Chief Optimism Officer Victor Perton:

"My take on what makes me optimistic? Two things:

Self-belief and self-confidence. That’s it. Then I can face any problem or challenge."

Quotable Quotes on Passion from "Optimism: The How and Why"

"Optimism enlivens and impassions while pessimism paralyses."

Victor Perton in "Strategy and Optimism"

The Honourable Gabrielle Williams MP

"What makes me optimistic is our younger generation - a generation passionate about driving change, a generation committed to leaving the place better than they found it."

Lynette Mayne AM, Owner + Executive ChairWork Wear World

Optimism is life itself – it inspires and helps us to be innovative and passionate.  It creates the drive to do amazing things, to always raise the bar.  Quite frankly, what would we do without it?”

Sharyn County, Head Of Procurement at Jemena

"What makes me optimistic is people: Meeting, working with and leading passionate, motivated people.  Seeing those I lead and have led be successful and creating a safe environment that takes into account the differences in people to enable this."

John Hagel, Member of the Advisory Board of The Centre for Optimism

"There are two types of people in the world - energy drainers and energy amplifiers. Optimistic people are energy amplifiers, especially if their optimism comes from the passion of the explorer. The more optimistic people connect with each other, the more energy they can generate together - it will go exponential."

From "Surround Yourself with Optimists"

Maree Timms, Robotics Teacher

"Working with young people makes me optimistic. I never underestimate their drive, passion and tenacity when it comes to solving problems. The future is in good hands."

Ayse Birsel, Speaker

"Optimism is one of the core strengths of designers. We inherently believe that no matter how hard the problem, we will come up with a better solution and this optimism drives our energy and our passion."

Pablo Cilotta, IACCM

"My optimism and happiness are enhanced through expressing gratitude and being passionate when learning new things, meeting new people, building relationships based on trust, confidence and building bridges."

Jennifer Jarrard, IACCM

O Openness Opportunity

P Passion Positivity

T Thinking

I Interactions with Inspiring People

M  Mindset

I  Interrelationships

S  Service

T  Teamwork

I   Innovation

C  Creativity & Collaboration

Mick Farrell, CEO of Resmed

“Optimism is the triumph of hope over fear, of truth over deception, but it must be grounded in reality.  Optimism without realism is just a dream; hope alone is not a strategy.  Detailed planning of scenarios, laying out of plans towards an ambitious goal, and then inspiring a team to climb that hill together with passion and a mission greater than oneself – that combination is a sure path to success.”


Andrew Macleod, Global Humanitarian and Member of The Centre for Optimism's Advisory Board

"The greatest gift being an aid worker in disaster and conflict zones has given me, is a deeper sense of optimism and understanding of how lucky Australians are to have the small things. Drinking water from the tap, crossings on roads, food in supermarkets, and the ability to sit at the MCG surrounded by people passionately supporting opposing teams in a game, but to do so peacefully. With this great good fortune as our base, imagine all that we can achieve when we decide to take an optimistic look at our life and build on what we DO have, rather than regret what we do not.”

Professor Raja Guha Thakurta, Astronomer at the UCO/Lick Observatory

“My optimism arises from the tremendous qualities I see in the young people I interact with. They are intelligent, passionate, motivated, hardworking, dedicated, ... ... they are capable of rising to meet any and every challenge. Our generation of adults has a responsibility of engaging youth in our work, sharing our passion and vision with them, and, equally importantly, learning about their passion and vision. It is clear to me that the future is in very good hands. We adults simply need to work with youth today to ensure that tomorrow's handover is a smooth one.”

Pauline McKinnon, Founding Director, Stillness Meditation Therapy Centre

“Optimists have a can-do attitude built into their belief system that enables them to persevere through to achievement, despite challenge.  Many optimists would claim the benefit of spiritual faith which in turn offers the strength of hope in the face of adversity.  The optimist also knows the importance of remaining calm and trusting oneself to find – or wait for – the solution.  

“A leader conceives ideas, trusts them, believes in them, practices them and follows then through.  A leader has the confidence to draw the support of others - and remains optimistic despite discouragement or disappointment, finding new ways to express his or her passion."


Sherilyn Hansen

“I am optimistic for the future because of the strength of character and commitment in young people. They are passionate, driven to create change but not at all costs - they will find the balance between economic good and social good and have a range of technology tools they have grown up with to help them get achieve their vision.”

Glenn Buesnel-May, Leadership Expert

“I was presented with a multitude of challenging life experiences from my earliest years. Somehow, I chose a mind-set that oriented me towards the future of possibility, of hope and ultimately, optimism. For me, it was not the phenomena of 'overcoming' challenges, but to a degree, riding them out and having faith in the oft-forgotten fact that challenges will come and a new day inevitably dawns. And it's this 'new day' that contains endless opportunity to change your lived reality. It can sometimes sound trite, but every future second of our lives gives us the 'second chance'. And it's an optimistic mind-set, partly in anticipation of that positive future of possibility, that allows us to rest on that assurance of the second chance; that opens up a new door to a new reality that defies yesterday's challenges. In contrast, especially for me, if I was pessimistic, I would have simple grown into a vessel of accumulated fear with no faculty for productive change or positive expectation. And unfortunately, it's that type of orientation that leads us to all kinds of dysfunction both individually and socially. I was lucky that as a very young child, I chose optimism over closing the door to growth and betterment by being shackled by fear. Optimism lies in the future path; a path of opportunity, of change, whereas pessimism paints that future palette with a darkness, devoid of the light of meaning and passion-driven purpose. Pessimism is driven by fear and embedded in the negative experiences of our pasts. That's why it's important to reconcile our failures and hardships (past) with the endless opportunities ahead of us (future).”


Stephen Ibaraki, Futurist and Entrepreneur

“In collecting more than 200 attributes that define success with entrepreneurs, there are four that stand out—one is optimism. When looking at the related area of happiness, prior to 2000, it was believed that people were born with a happiness set point—immutable thus setting your course for the future. However, when studying Tibetan monks and their brain activity, it was discovered that this could be raised through technique. The same is true of Optimism; you can increase your optimism by reframing everything into opportunities or key lessons for growth. This is similar to stress hormones, they are produced in relation to how you frame workload and challenges—think optimistically about opportunities and skill growth—the stress levels go down thus improving your life quality. Finally, there is this definition of success related to Grit most recently defined by psychologist Angela Duckworth which I’m modifying based upon my experiences:

Talent x  hyper effort = skill

Skill x hyper effort = achievement

Achievement x passion x perseverance x optimism (squared) = Grit applied over long-term goals = Success”

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