The Power of Optimism

Ed BurghardOne of the lessons I have received in my career is to recognize and harness the power of optimism to effect positive change. This is a subject not often associated with developing a vibrant economy for a community. And yet, it just might be the “secret sauce” necessary for people living in a community to live the American Dream to its fullest.

Attitude Determines Altitude

Optimism is about believing in success. It is about having confidence that seemingly insurmountable obstacles can in fact be overcome. This allows a community to capitalize on opportunities by taking appropriate risks. It helps focus a community on the creation of an even brighter tomorrow by building on current success.  It also allows a business to overcome seemingly impossible challenges and become an even more effective global competitor.

Quotations About Optimism

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” –Colin Powell

”Optimism is the foundation of courage.” –Nicholas Murray Butler

“We are a strong, robust, and prosperous nation. Optimism is the essence of our success. It drives our creativity and emboldens our entrepreneurial spirit. It is what makes us invest in the future and accomplish our highest aims.” –Bill Frist

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” –Henry Ford

“An optimist is someone who goes after Moby Dick in a rowboat and takes the tartar sauce with him.” –Zig Ziglar

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” –Helen Keller

Optimism Is A State Of Mind

For CEOs, employee optimism can be a competitive advantage. Employees who believe in a brighter future and are willing to work toward that vision will often find solutions to vexing business problems.

Adora Svitak’s TED Talk makes a compelling case that thinking like a child with a focus on possibilities rather than limitations is key to success. Listen to this 12-year old make the case that you can find solutions to challenging problems if you eliminate your fear of restrictions. After listening to Adora, my confidence that the American Dream can be fully achieved by even more people has increased dramatically. The current barriers can be reduced or eliminated with innovative solutions that will be identified and implemented by people in your community with an optimistic outlook on the future.

Optimism can enable achievement of the American Dream. So, which states have the most optimistic people in our nation?

Based on the 2012 American Dream State Ranking Report, Delaware is the #1 most optimistic state.

Most Optimistic States


Implications in Site Selection

These are the states with a labor pool whose optimistic attitude might very well determine the altitude of a company’s success. Based on the survey data, people in these states have a brighter outlook on the future. They will be able to bring that optimism to problem solving on the job. For companies with challenges in achieving global success, this optimistic attitude might just be the key to finding the right solution.

The opportunity is there for CEOs looking to expand (or establish) business operations to consider the importance of an optimistic employee base, and take the relative ranking of states into consideration when making their final location choice in the site selection decision process.


How important do you feel optimism is to business success? How important is it to enabling people to live the American Dream? Do you think CEOs will consider the level of optimism of people in a state as a criterion in the site selection decision? Did any of the states in the Top 10 surprise you?

Read About My Journey To Learn More About The American Dream

American Dream Case Study Series

North Carolina versus Texas

Indiana versus Michigan

Florida versus North Carolina

New York versus New Jersey

California versus Texas

Pennsylvania versus New York

How Easy Is It To Achieve The American Dream In Your State?

To view the complete set of State rankings based on the ADCI and five explanatory sub-indexes, simply click this button

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For additional information on the ADCI click HERE.

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