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The Flipside: Being Optimistic despite Life’s Greatest Challenges

August 19, 2010


I was at the airport heading to Italy for vacation when I realized that I needed a good book.  I spent a good half hour browsing the book store looking for the perfect balance of easy read with substance.  I found exactly that in The Flipside by Adam Jackson.

The Flipside caught my eye because it profiled people who remained optimistic despite challenging life circumstances.  I was drawn to the book because I have a natural interest in Optimism plus it’s one of the fifteen competencies of BarOn’s Emotional Intelligence, a tool in which I hold a certification. Research has also demonstrated that optimism drives performance; helps overcome difficult situations and impacts the performance and mood of others.

Jackson’s book is filled with so many inspirational stories it’s easy to feel energized and optimistic yourself. Many of the stories are of famous individuals, Julio Iglesias, The Bee Gees, Sir Richard Branson, whose difficulties ultimately lead to their success. However, the most incredible stories are the everyday individuals who turned devastating situations into triumph.

One such example is Dan Ariely, who at 18 years old, got 3rd degree burns to 70% of his body. He spent the next three years in hospital enduring painful treatments and physiotherapy. As a result of his accident, he started to look at people’s behavior differently which ultimately lead him into the field of cognitive psychology. He also adopted a more relaxed view of life knowing many of the problems he faces are less daunting than what he faced in the past. Today Dan is a leading expert in behavioral economics, the author of best selling Predictably Irrational and happily married.

The real gem in this book is what Jackson calls The Flipside “Every problem or obstacle contains an opportunity as big, and sometimes bigger, than the problem itself. The flipside is that opportunity”.

How can you look at your next challenges or opportunities and find the Flipside?

Check out our blog next Thursday for how you can boost your optimism.


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