Recently upon watching the Jose Mourinho episode of “The Playbook” on Netflix, I really took in one story he told about his time coaching Porto. The team had qualified for the Champions League as a fairly low seed, but it was a huge accomplishment based on where they’d been in the past years. This was not good enough for Jose, though. Problem was with the low seed, they were almost guaranteed to be seeded against Manchester United. Man U. was the best team in the world at the time and dominated for years.
Normally this type of likely seeding would deflate a team and put them in poor spirits as they head into their first match of the greatest tournament in the world. Jose did something to his team, though, that can be applied to anything you take on in your life that will be a huge challenge. Jose convinced his team before the seeding that if they were going to be in this tournament, they should want to play the best. They should want Man U. in the opening round and they should know that they deserve it as much as anyone.
What happened? They drew Man U. They loved it!
Then what happened? They won. They beat Man U. Moved onto the Champions League Final and won the whole thing. This set Jose and his players up for a trajectory in their careers that they never would have seen if they hadn’t been prepared and actually optimistic about the worst possible draw.
Flipping pessimism into optimism can be the key to early success when you are facing new unseen challenges.