Category Archives: Self-improvement

Why Optimists Make Great Leaders

Becoming a successful leader requires hard work and perseverance. It takes more than just diligent effort to create an environment conducive to success in business, the creative arts, finance, education and politics. Many of the most successful leaders share one quality in common: optimism. For some, biological factors may enhance their ability to retain optimism in even the toughest situations. For others, their optimism is learned – a function of studying other great leaders and learning from their methods.

Why Optimists Make Great Leaders

Defining Optimism

The Free Dictionary defines optimism as, “A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.” There are other variations to this definition but all share a common theme. Optimism is the ability to project past current circumstances into a positive future outcome. While there is some biological evidence that supports heritable optimism, even the most promising optimist must work hard to sustain that tendency during natural disaster, economic downturn, personal hardship and relational distress. Just like a talented musician must practice to perform flawlessly, an optimistic leader must practice in order to convey optimism consistently.

Qualities of an Optimistic Leader

It is not enough to be optimistic in a leadership role. The effective leader must also be able to communicate that optimism to staff, volunteers, customers, vendors and lenders. It’s true that many of the greatest leaders have been optimists, but they have also been great at communicating their optimism. Leaders like Colin Powell, the Dalai Lama and Ronald Reagan spent much of their time practicing their oratory skills so that their ideas were clearly conveyed. In addition to being gifted communicators, optimistic leaders must have an entrepreneurial spirit, strong organizational and administrative skills, a warm and welcoming manner, intelligence and courage.

How Optimism Affects Leadership

Every leader has at least one follower; this is the nature of leadership. There will always be fewer leaders than followers, although the most successful leaders may not have the most followers.

However, history has shown that the most successful leaders are likely to be optimists and that they are also likely to have the most effective, organized and committed followers. Optimists have the gift to paint the “big picture” in a way that makes followers willing to rally their support behind it.

Thus, optimistic leaders are futurists, philosophers and artists in their own right. Because achieving such a vision takes hard work, leaders who are optimists must also be able to inspire others to share the workload. In this way, only the express of sincere and sustained optimism in a leader can galvanize people to set aside their smaller agendas and band together for the common good.

How to Identify the Strength of Optimism

Happiness – when one comes across this word, the first image that pops up in mind is that of a very cheerful person who is always merry and has got no problems in life. We complain that fate is so partial in matters of whom she bequeaths her good luck upon, and that we are never the chosen ones. This is as good as complaining that the glass is not full when the glass is half full. The truth is, what matters is not how lucky we are, or how much are we bestowed with, but how we look at things. If we are able to take everything in our stride, then there is absolutely nothing that can take away our happiness.

Identify the strength of optimism

What optimism is all about?

This characteristic of looking at the bright side of life is termed as being optimistic. It is not something which can be bought or given, but it has to be inculcated by the individual himself. When one is able to believe that whatever happens is for his or her good, no force can dampen his spirits. This is because he sees every occasion with the feeling that there is undoubtedly something good about it. Every cloud has a silver lining, so the presence of a cloud in one’s life is not a reason to be miserable; in fact it is a cause for rejoicing.

Optimism is the main ingredient of success

The dictionary describes optimism as the feeling that all is going to turn out well. Indeed it is all about the mentality of an individual. When one assumes failure, nothing can make him succeed. He may have all the resources and abilities to win, but what keeps that achievement from him is his self doubt, the doubt he has about himself. On the other hand, a person who keeps assuring himself that he will do well will undoubtedly succeed in life because he did not let the winds of doubt bow him down.

A measure of how strong optimism really is

Optimism is one of the most important strengths one can have. It is the resilience factor which keeps giving us hope and encouragement when all seems gone. To identify how strong optimism can be, ask any successful man about the qualities he believes are required to reach his level and optimism will undoubtedly find an important place in his list. Ask any elderly person why he was not able to achieve success and his answer would be that he did not have faith in his abilities, he was depressed when he came face to face with his first failure and was so daunted that he never dared to try again. Had this man seen those failures as the stepping stone to his success, being optimistic that this failure had been just to teach him an important lesson, he could have been in a position quite different from his present one.

Thus we see that optimism is required in every phase of life by every individual who wants to make a mark for himself in this world. Face every instance with the faith that it is meant for your best and be amazed by how all your miseries ebb away.

How to get Positive Thinking with Positive Action

Human mind is a repository of thoughts. These thoughts have the power to take us to unimaginable heights in life, if cultivated with a visionary approach. Developing a positive approach towards life is a natural consequence of all the positive actions we take towards achieving this mean.

How to get positive thinking with positive action

Positive actions help you gain confidence

Any positive action that one takes towards accomplishing any task in life leads to positive thinking. Suppose a person has been assigned the task of designing a computer software that has met repeated failure despite the best efforts being put in.

A person can visualize this situation in two ways. One, the person can let the feeling of boredom and depression set in, thinking about the difficulties and obstacles faced by other people who were assigned the task. This will naturally lead to another failure with negative consequences for the company.

However, a person with a positive frame of mind visualizes the situation in an entirely different context. A person who loves to take the challenges head on will work out the reasons behind the failure. The person will work on the loopholes and come out with a strategy of dealing with the problem. This might involve taking help from others, scanning through literature and sitting late hours in the office trying out innovative solutions.

Positive actions taken

To understand the topic in a better context, let us analyze the positive action initiated by the person who is dealing with the problem. The person did not get depressed by the failures, the other team members faced while dealing with the challenge. This shows the mental toughness of the person. Being mentally tough and prepared to take on any challenging situation head on is the first step towards positive action. Next, the person showed maturity as he or she took help from other colleagues who had knowledge on this topic. This too shows that the person is sensitive towards others and cares for them. This is a key point as a person who shows emotional maturity tends to succeed hands down, when it comes to solving tough issues.

Preparing to learn and improve skills is another key factor that leads to positive action. The person in question here, did the work with true intent scanning through the literature available for solving the problem. These all actions taken when put together leads to the task being accomplished successfully.

Positive action leads to positive thinking

The end result of all this exercise leads to successful accomplishment of the task. As the person is able to accomplish the task successfully and solve the problem, this will help in strengthening the thought process of the person.

The person will be able to think with vision and contribute in a better way for successful accomplishment of any task, be it in the professional life or personal life. This itself leads to development of positive thinking.

Prior planning, thorough knowledge of the subject matter and an honest effort are the pre requisites for successful accomplishment of the task. If one makes efforts to work on these aspects in true earnest, this will lead to positive thinking.

Improve Your Life One Month at a Time – the Year Project

If you’re like me, you see a lot of room for improvement in your life. For me, it was the way I ate, dressed, wasted money, and even the way I took care of my skin. In the midst of depression, I made a decision to make a change and went about setting a year plan to improve myself, one month at a time. 8 months in, the results have already been life changing!

The Year Project: Improve your life one month at a time

1. Set a plan. Write out a list of subjects you’d like to tackle. Each month, focus on one or two things that will help you improve the way you live your life. For example: diet, fitness, skin, and finance. With only one thing to focus on each month, the tasks seem much less daunting.

2. Save your money. It’s tempting to go out and buy things that might help improve your life or to hire experts to give you advice. But breaking your bank will not be beneficial in the end, and there are lots of great resources that you can use for free.

3. Do your research. Read online articles, books, watch documentaries, talk to people, and try things out throughout the month. You can likely find everything you need by searching online articles, your library, or getting ideas from others. And don’t worry if you find the month focuses blending together. Once you start feeling the buzz from conquering your challenges, there is no reason to hold yourself back from the next ones! Just don’t get overwhelmed.

4. You call the shots. Often, when we go through rough times, we seek ways to help us feel in control again. This project was my way of doing just that. So make it your own. Make your own plan and change up the months as you see fit. Unexpected things pop up in life and something that happens to you in month 2 might jive better with your focus for month 7. No one says you have to stick to the original outline. And add things if you feel so moved! You may discover new areas of interest along the way.

5. Tell others. Start a blog, post your achievements on social media, call a friend and tell them the plan. It’s easier to hold yourself accountable when you know others know about it, and their encouragement can catapult your spirits and determination. And you may even inspire them to improve their own life!

6. Don’t expect to become an expert. Just because you are focusing on something for a month doesn’t mean you will have mastered it by the end of those 30 days. This will simply give you specified time to focus on something and can serve as the building blocks for the rest of your life.

7. Don’t quit. Discouragement will happen. It’s impossible to go a whole year without some feelings of backtracking, failing, and disappointment. Some months will go smoother than others, some will feel life-changing while others will pass without much notice at all. But that’s what’s so great about the Year Project; next month is a new month! You may find you are drawn to certain topics more than others and that’s fine. Stay honest and allow yourself to have bad days, weeks, even months.

Types of Positive People

It all started with a comment that I posted on a poll on oplife.org, about positive people. The poll set me thinking about all those extremely positive people that I‘ve come across. The end result – Yup, I found myself writing this article.

Positive people have categories. They can be one or a combination of the following:

Types of Positive People

The Cool, Smiling Ones

They are happy-go-lucky kind of people who have either been blessed with plenty of positive energy to last a lifetime, have been brought up by sensible and loving elders, or have learnt the art of overcoming or managing their fears and pain. The deeper their wounds are, the sweeter their smile is. They don’t judge people. They just understand and offer unconditional love.

Their very presence makes you light up.

Some of them can’t help spreading smiles and joy wherever they go. They are respected by friends and foes alike.

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who would never take advantage of you. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.”

―Unknown.

The Broken Ones
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

They are the ones who have been hit, tossed, turned, crushed and thrown on the shore by huge waves in the mighty ocean of life. They’ve suffered trauma over and over again without any breaks. Recurring storms may have broken their bodies, may have taken away their ability but their soul and will remain intact, no matter how hard they’re hit. They are self- programmed to move on.

“Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”

The Determined Ones
They are the ‘No BS’ kind. They KNOW their purpose in life and they know how to get it. They are the ones who’ve mastered their fears. Nothing can stop them from accomplishing their mission. They are born to lead and in doing so they don’t hesitate to sacrifice their most precious of possessions and relations.

“Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so.”

― Charles De Gaulle

The ‘Different’ Ones
These people have the guts to change the system and the world. They bring revolution They are different. No matter how much they try to be like others, they can’t suppress their true self or their urge to change things.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

― Author Unknown

Conclusion
All of us have our positive and negative points and all of us go have positive and negative experiences as long as we live. What matters is how we choose to take and face the challenges presented by life. We may fear them and freak out, enclosing ourselves into cocoons and control dramas or we may take those obstacles as opportunities to grow and emerge as positive people.

This Is Why You Should Think Positive

There is no secret that folks who actively engage in positive thinking tend to possess a far better outlook on life. Optimists almost always see the glass as half full and therefore they are often better equipped to deal with life’s challenges. People that think positive have a bent to expect the simplest outcome from a given situation, and lots of times their expectations come to fruition.

Think Positive

There are a number of reasons that positive thinking helps people be more successful. First, individuals who expect the best possible outcome do not allow doubt or insecurity to control their actions when things become difficult. This means that optimists tend to see things through more often than those who see the glass as half empty. They do not have a tendency to give up the first time difficult circumstances occur.

Second, individuals who are able to visualize themselves succeeding in their endeavors often do just that- succeed. Perhaps this is also due to an individual’s ability to shoulder the bumps in the road that inevitably come with any endeavor that is worth pursuing. Effort equals results and people who have the resolve to see a task through can usually have a realistic expectation that they will succeed in whatever they are attempting to do.

Optimists certainly have an advantage over more pessimistic individuals. Even those who consider themselves to be realists can often get caught up in the cynicism that is involved with virtually every aspect of daily life that exists in today’s world. Optimists however, have a tendency to see their section of the world the way they wish it could be and then they make their best effort to bring their reality as close to that ideal as possible.

People who have a positive outlook on life tend to be happier in general, even when circumstances that are out of their control are not going well. They simply seem to be better equipped to deal with the problems that inevitably happen throughout life.

People in all walks of life and with all types of personalities experience many of the same challenges and circumstances. It isn’t as if the universe shows favor to people who have a more positive outlook. The difference is that optimists simply deal with bumps in the road better than pessimists, and therefore they are able to bounce back from a setback much more quickly and easily than other people who do not share their same outlook on life.

People who have a positive outlook naturally expect that they will succeed with their goals. They expect to excel rather than fail. Many successful individuals visualize themselves succeeding in their endeavors well before their success actually occurs. This allows individuals to see themselves doing what they want to do and also serves as a form of planning to plot out the necessary steps that must be taken in order to get there. Perhaps that is why the visualization process is so successful and why so many people who have a positive outlook on life share these techniques.

In addition, optimists naturally expect that things will go well and if a setback occurs they don’t see it as something ominous but merely as a small obstacle that needs to be overcome. Therefore, they are willing to put in the effort that is required to get past whatever challenges are ahead and see things through until they succeed.

Pessimists, on the other hand are likely to see the first challenge as a complete failure and simply give up on their goals rather than persevere until they are successful. The major difference is that optimists trust that things will work out and that everything will ultimately be okay. This helps to see them through during difficult times and allows them to have the resolve they need to survive the challenges that are placed before them, often emerging even stronger than they were before.

Conclusion
Optimism is a key component to living a successful life and to being happy. It is extremely difficult to be successful or to enjoy anything in life when expecting the worst possible outcome. Individuals who expect things to work out naturally have a better outlook on life in general. That is not to say that they are naive.

However, it is important for people to have a positive outlook, as life will most definitely be filled with plenty of challenges. One of the best ways to successfully deal with those challenges is to have a positive outlook on life and expect to succeed.