The foundation of my More Human leadership practice and philosophy comes from what I call “half-fullism” – dealing with the literal world in a favorable way.
In fact, the original title of this blog was “Ramblings From a Glass Half-Full”. In my very first post back on December 25, 2005, I noted,
Call me an eternal optimist, call me a fool, but I find it’s the best way to live one’s life with the least amount of angst. I hate angst.
Nearly 12 years and 1,052 posts later, that leadership foundation still holds. I still hate angst. My glass is still half-full – not always, but most of the time. I did modify, however, the “eternal optimist” part – I prefer to call myself a “realistic optimist“. Pollyanna I am not.
It’s a foundation that was critical to my success as a leader – and in my view is critical to any successful leader, for that matter.
Occasionally I need to refer back to famous optimists at those times where my glass gets a bit below half-full, and I need a booster shot. For times such as this, I keep a list of my 10 favorite optimism quotes. They have never let me down. I bet they won’t let you down either.
(PS: my personal favorite is #8)
- The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose – Kahlil Gibran
- The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection – Thomas Paine
- A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them – Leonard Louis Levinson
- The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true – James Branch Cabell
- Optimism is the foundation of courage – Nicholas Murray Butler
- A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties – Harry Truman
- Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier – Colin Powell
- For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else – Sir Winston Churchill
- You see things; and you say “why?” But I dream of things that never were, and I say “Why not?” – George Bernard Shaw
- The tenth is actually a story an old boss of mine used to tell just about once a month; it’s about two boys who one beautiful day were exploring their neighbor’s farm and came upon an empty barn that smelled of manure – the first boy said, “we got to get out of here, this smells horrible“, but the second boy said “Oh boy, this is great – there must be horses around!“. Yes, true optimists can even find a silver lining from manure. 🙂