Learning Optimism With the 24×7 Rule

Choosing Optimism

It is a gift to understand how to embrace optimism within oneself and in others. It is an even greater act of generosity to be inspired by optimism from others and to be willing to receive it.

“We have the capacity to be a natural recipient of ideas”, says Anthony Tjan, CEO and Managing Partner of the VC firm Cue Ballad and Vice Chairman of the Advisory firm, Parthenon.

Do we truly see the good in something or someone?

Are we natural critics, cynics or optimists?

Do we often think of what might be wrong with someone or something before we try and understand what might be right or good?

To see everything good in an idea before seeing anything bad, Tjan suggests the 24 x 3 rule.

“The next time you hear an idea for the first time, or meet someone new, try to wait 24 seconds before saying or thinking something negative. This reinforces a foundational skill of good optimists and good leadership. That basic skill is listening. As you gain the ability to listen and pause for a brief 24 seconds before letting the critic in you bubble to the verbal surface, move to the next level and try to do it for 24 minutes. At 24 minutes, you are able to give more considered thought to the idea and think more carefully of the many reasons why it might actually work, why it might be better than what is out there, and why it might just topple conventional wisdom. And yes, you should also work towards the ability to wait 24 hours — one single day — before pondering or verbalizing the cons against something”.

Most times, this may not be possible as one cannot shut out past experiences or compartmentalize things. But the 24x24x24 rule is a more optimistic approach towards people and ideas. It is a good reminder that a prerequisite of optimism is to have a “willing suspension of disbelief”. Mastering the 24×3 rule will make one an enjoyable and inspirational leader; one whose generosity is rewarded with new possibilities that others have prematurely dismissed.



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