The Positive Optimiser Approach Rather Than The Observer Critic Approach

There are many ways to live life. Some people follow the positive optimiser approach but are also realistic. Some people follow the observer critic approach. The route they follow has consequences for both themselves and other people.

Positive optimisers tend to focus on possibilities, practical solutions and achieving positive results. Observer critics tend to sit on the side and point out problems.

Looking back on your life, can you think of a person who followed elements of the positive optimiser approach? How did they demonstrate these qualities? What was the effect they had on other people?

Different people follow this approach in different ways. Let’s explore how somebody may translate his approach into action.

The Positive Optimiser Approach

There are several definitions for the word optimise. These include the following.

To make the best possible use of something … To make something as effective, as good or as perfect as it can be … To make things optimal.

There are many ways to follow this route. Some people focus on the following themes.

Such people are not starry-eyed optimists. They have a positive attitude but are good at reading reality. They focus on the following themes.

Positive Things

They build on the positive things in life. They often have a sense of gratitude and aim to do their best. Going into a specific situation, they may ask the following questions.

“What is actually happening? What are the positive and negative things? What are the successful and unsuccessful patterns? What may be the consequences of these patterns?

“How can I build on the positive things? How can I build on the successful patterns? How can I manage the consequences of any unsuccessful patterns?”


Such people see things from a positive angle. They focus on possibilities and apply this approach in many situations. Such people may explore the following questions.

“What are the possibilities in the situation? What are the possible opportunities? What are the available strengths and assets? How is it possible to use these shape a positive future?”

They take this approach when building on successes or recovering from setbacks. They aim: a) to explore all the possible ways forwards; b) to pursue the strategy most likely to achieve success.

Possible Solutions

Such people enjoy finding solutions to challenges. When appropriate, some may also be good at helping others in to find solutions to conflicts. Such people may explore the following questions.

“What is the specific challenge? What at the possible options going forwards? What are the consequences of each option? What is the route – or combination of routes – that it would be helpful to follow?

“Looking at a potential conflict situation, what does each party want? What do they have in common? How can I help them to build on these things? How can I help them to find, as far as possible, win-win solutions?”

Positive Results

Such people like to translate ideas into action. They often aim to set specific goals, follow strategies that work and deliver success. Looking at a situation, they may explore the following questions.

“What are the real results to achieve? What are the strategies that are most likely to achieve success? How can these be translated into an action plan? What will be the benefits of achieving the picture of success?

Optimisers are lifelong learners. They love to keep adding to their repertoire of knowledge and practical tools. They then like to apply these and their best to achieve positive results.

The Observer Critic Approach

Observer critics may sit on the side and point out problems. They may criticise others but not provide solutions. Such an approach can be deflating and not offer a positive way forwards.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of a situation where you may want to follow elements of the optimiser approach? This could be in your personal or professional life.

What may be the specific situation? How could you build on any positive things? How could you explore the opportunities or possible solutions? How could you then do your best to get positive results?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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