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Leadership Traits to Transform Your Life – Optimism

by Gary Bamberger on June 27, 2011

Over the past few months, I’ve had several people ask how I developed and maintain my optimism and positive outlook. So, I decided to jump to this topic for the next installment of my blog.

Optimism / positivity is much more than ignoring negative aspects of a situation or looking for the silver lining in situations. And, it’s more than just “spinning” a message. In a recent Leadership Freak blog, Dan Rockwell wrote that “fake it till you make it” thinking will not solve real problems. Pretending everything is fine and that problems naturally go away isn’t a solution. I agree with his assessment.

The Starting Point

As a youth, I developed what I’ll call a critical view of the world. I spent a lot of time looking at what was wrong with the world. You’ve heard the saying, “If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” Well this summed up my view of how I existed in the world. I worked hard and couldn’t catch a break. I lived most of the time in “Pity City.” And I was really sarcastic in my comments making it difficult for people to get close to me and connect. I figured everyone was working the angles and had a “What’s in it for me” mentality.

The Turning Point

For me, the turning point was more of an evolution over time. First, as with all serious change in people’s lives, I became aware that I had allowed myself to be cynical, negative and sarcastic. This enabled me to start adjusting my behavior. I began to understand that I have choices in my response to situations and I could choose to respond differently.

The second ingredient was surrounding myself with people who were willing to support me during my transformation. The people I choose to be around are positive, lift me up and give honest feedback. Being around them made it much easier to emulate their behavior and thinking. And beyond people, I also consciously choose what I surround myself with, what I listen to and what I pay attention to.

The final piece of the puzzle was to positively affirm who I am and what I do. I accomplish this by recalling / reciting positive affirmations that I write for myself. As I continue this practice, I begin to notice when I exhibit the characteristic of an affirmation, which builds forward momentum. This falls under the old adage that we get what we look for in life.

What I’ve Learned

Astronauts Rick D. Husband (left) and William C. McCool give a thumbs up!Every situation has many different perspectives depending upon the lens through which it is seen. I examine situations from different perspectives and choose to view them from a perspective that empowers me, that resonates with who I am and what I value. I also use reframing to put experiences in more useful and empowering frame of reference. Each of us is, after all, in complete control of our attitude and perceptions about situations. We get to choose the attitude and perspective through which we view events. It’s a fact that life happens and some of these events are better than others. Each of us gets to choose how we respond to these events and how we interpret them. This is a powerful lesson.

In the end, to create positive thinking and momentum to move forward, you must do something. Using your creativity to find a suitable solution is a great way to start generating positive thinking. The act of moving forward by considering various solutions, choosing a course of action, moving forward and adjusting your plan as you go will naturally create positive thoughts.

What are your experiences with being optimistic and positive?

What advice would you give to others who are on this journey themselves?

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Leadership Traits to Transform Your Life – Perseverance
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