Keyword - contagious optimism

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Mike Davies of Rogers Stirkharbour & Partners - who used this term in a talk

Optimism often invites more optimism

  • In systems thinking, processes self-regulate by what is called 'negative feedback'.
  • In a 'negative feedback' system, whenever a given trend increases regulatory factors act to reduce it.
  • If it reduces too much then the same process brings it back to an optimum position.
  • By contrast, 'positive feedback' works to augment a given trend.
  • Therefore, when positive feedback occurs there is usually a 'runaway' or 'avalanche' effect.
  • Optimism is often part of a 'positive feedback' process that spreads itself within a given group of people.
  • We may therefore think of it as 'contagious'.
  • Pessimism is also 'contagious', but it usually has fewer helpful outcomes.
  • Utlimately, this process can build trust...and in extremis...unconditional love