Almost all leaders and all people of vision have things in common. One of those things is at the center of their core being…they are optimist. I’m not talking about a false sense or belief that everything is great or a “I,m okay, your okay” type attitude. Blind optimism is ridiculous. What I am speaking of goes much deeper than that. It is an informed optimism, which can become an indispensable foundation.
Columbia University psychiatrist, Susan Vaughn, has concluded, “optimism has little to do with the external reality, and everything to do with our ability to regulate our own inner world. It is the perception of being in control, not the reality that really matters.” If leaders were to give up at the first obstacle they faced most companies would fail. Not having balanced optimism in our lives causes us to see obstacles as insurmountable. Imagine if after John F. Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon within a decade, engineers and scientists said, “it can’t be done and here are the reason’s why.” I image there were some who did, but there were many more who had an optimism that they could figure out solutions to these problems. Without this optimism toward there abilities, talents and education, we would have never landed on the moon.
Optimism helps keep people motivated, focused, and innovative. When serious change is needed or when obstacles arise that can keep you from accomplishing your vision, it will be optimism that helps you see through the fog of uncertainty and optimism that will help you see the possible solutions. It’s the difference between giving up or looking for ways to deal with the issues hindering you path to your vision and goals.
Colin Powell, the once Joint Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense, had the following under the glass cover of his desk, hand written on a piece of paper.
It ain’t as bad as you think.
It will look better in the morning.
Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
Pessimists always find reasons why they can’t accomplish their goals or why the vision will never work. Informed optimists will always overcome the pessimists reasons. Each time you move closer to your vision it will take multiple steps or procedures. Each one of these step may have differing degrees of difficulty. It is during these difficult steps you will need to draw on your informed optimism in order to see it through. A “yes you can” person will ALWAYS out do a “no you can’t” person.
Which one are you?