I´m having beers with an old Brazilian friend in Sao Paulo. He´s going through the story of how he got to his new position. The project he´s working on is amazing. He really has the opportunity to change things. Then we talk about his brother. He´s been working on a successful startup for the last couple of years. He´s handing it over to the team now and looking for the next thing. When we finish—after too many rounds I must confess—we say goodbye and I leave intoxicated not only by the liquid but, more importantly, also by the enthusiasm of my old Brazilian friend.
Brazil always has that for me. It has a special kind of energy, a sense of joy that is floating in the air. It is the people, of course, and it got me thinking. Cultural differences teach you lessons. They speak about all those things you don´t notice because you take them for granted. It is not about what you talk about but how you approach it. In this case, you can sense that we Spaniards tend to approach things in a much more self-conscious way. We tend to focus on the threat—what if it goes wrong, what if I look ridiculous, what if nobody is interested. Brazilians focus on the opportunity instead—what if it works, what if it is a big hit.
The most energizing moments in life are those where you engage with opportunity-minded people. I have a lot of chances as a mentor for Endeavor. 30 min with an entrepreneur are exhilarating. You walk out the door with a renovated spirit. No need to say, entrepreneurs are driven by opportunity, and not by threat. They jumped when the rest said "it may hurt".
So yes, we must seek to spend time with these people (or move to Brazil!). But more importantly, we must cultivate an opportunity mindset for ourselves. We must be that guy for the people around us, whether colleagues, friends or family. Under any circumstance, we will find reasons to be worried or reasons to be excited. It´s our choice to pick the right side.
One easy way to get started is by analyzing your own speech, you will find a lot of room for improvement—lots of opportunities, sorry ;) As Ludwig Wittgenstein said: "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." Next time you´re addressing your team, your friends, your son, your wife, think about the storyline. Be conscious on whether it is a story of fear, or a story of opportunity. Be conscious, as well, that you can easily change the storyline with little effort. Then do it, it will make all the difference.
Enjoy the weekend and see you next week!