We enter the new year together as an industry and as SPE members, but also as individuals who have traveled on varying roads and experienced personal detours. While this also can be said of years past, 2020 brought with it unanticipated upheavals within the oil and gas industry, global societies, and our personal and professional lives (and livelihoods).

Outlooks for the coming year depend in large part on your own worldview: Are you generally an optimist or a pessimist? An optimist believes that problems are temporary and will get better. A pessimist is convinced that the problem is here to stay and can only get worse. Optimists go into new situations with high expectations, while pessimists hang onto low expectations to prepare for negative outcomes.

Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?

The objective truth is that the water in the glass is at the halfway mark. The rest is up to our interpretation of that truth. The truth itself doesn’t change, but how we interpret it can have a huge effect on our actions.

In his column this month, SPE President Tom Blasingame, a self-described optimist, wrote, “It’s time to look at the horizon” and “open our sails.” The metaphor describes taking action after the worst of a storm has passed or is passing and to make adjustments to get back on course.

None of us are continuously optimistic or pessimistic. Life happens and moves the needle in either direction, but opening our sails may help us recover our optimism when it falters. Tapping into our resources is critical to our worldview.

Am I consistently a cheerleader with a rosy view, no matter what happens? Certainly not, but I tap into my resources and mightily try to move the needle back toward optimism. (Warning: Success in doing so may not be immediate.)

Your personal resources vary, and this is a reminder that SPE is one of those resources.

This list is intended to serve as an “SPE Guide to Optimism.” These offerings can help to move the needle for you. Best wishes for 2021 from the JPT editorial team.

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