At its simplest, optimism is a general expectation that good things will happen. According to recent Harvard health research, optimism may help you live longer. Optimism will help you function better as a leader.
Writing about “The Case for Optimism: The Optimists Voices,” Helen Clark, former New Zealand Prime Minister and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme says, “Good things happen when good people get together in common cause. More than 150 people have shared their wisdom and insights in this book ‘The Case for Optimism.’ Their views are fresh and sparkle off the pages which follow. Most will inspire, some will amuse and others look to improve the current state of global leadership. Certainly, this is excellent thought-provoking material to share in conversations and speeches for adults and children alike.”
Some quotes from the book:
Professor Jane Burns: “People talk about tenacity and resilience and strength of character but it is optimism that drives behavior when on some days it would be easier to say “stop - I give up, it’s too hard. Optimism is believing in the impossible and then taking the steps to make it possible.”
Catherine Tanna, Managing Director EnergyAustralia: “Without optimism, what are we? With optimism, we can be anything.”
Professor Erwin Loh, Chief Medical Officer, Monash Health: “Be an optimist, and be relentless in pursuing the beacon of hope, so that you are always moving towards the light that will guide you, shine on you, and keep the shadows of darkness and despair behind you.”
Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey
“Optimism is at the very core of leadership. The best leaders I have encountered in my career are those that remain optimistic –- and ambitious -– for their organisations even in the face of great adversity. They are those whose optimism enables them to recognise the potential in others, and help them develop to be leaders themselves.”
Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever: “The future lies in the hands of the younger generation and that gives me huge cause for optimism.
Chairman of the Royal Flying Doctor Service Denis Henry: “Optimism about the future and about the essential goodness in the majority of your community and workforce is the fuel for the certainty and commitment a leader needs.”
Mick Farrell, CEO of Resmed: “Optimism is the triumph of hope over fear, of truth over deception, but it must be grounded in reality. Optimism without realism is just a dream; hope alone is not a strategy. Detailed planning of scenarios, laying out of plans towards an ambitious goal, and then inspiring a team to climb that hill together with passion and a mission greater than oneself – that combination is a sure path to success.”
World Economic Forum’s Bertrand Badré: “Leadership must appropriately combine a harsh sense of reality with a dose of contagious optimism. It is about looking forward past the obstacles. Yes we can!”
Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company: “I remain as optimistic as ever. Today’s world is abundant with opportunity to collaborate in new ways, creating positive change and solutions that protect the planet and provide hope to millions of people who feel that the world has forgotten them.”
CEO of Navy Health Ron Wilson: “Every year in the last century, the world has got richer, healthier and more tolerant. Along the way, there have been many setbacks and too much suffering but we seem to retrieve the situation... Great leaders see to it that good overcomes evil.”
Lilia Perton, Yogi: “Daily practice of yoga and meditation are ways of achieving an optimistic mindset and presence. We can light up the room and light up the lives of people around us with a positive manner, mode of speech and a smile.
Jack Zenger, CEO of Zenger|Folkman: “In a few days I’ll turn 86, and I am absolutely convinced that the best days of my life are ahead of me, and not behind me. “
Dynamic Global HR Leader Diana Hodgson: “Leadership – the case for optimism? People want to be inspired! Given the future of work and the reality and pace of change as it evolves, optimism is an important trait to keep us moving productively forward. Resilience is its companion.”
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A page-turning read, here Victor Perton gathers a potpourri of wisdom about optimism from those whose lives he has touched. From inspirational to how-to guide, from analytical to the philosophically sublime, each quote offers another nuance about optimism and the human condition. The curated result is an uplifting, timeless gem. The Case For Optimism is highly recommended.
Optimism — Victor Perton
Optimism is infectious. When Victor Perton, a world class extrovert, offers his Rolodex’ view of such a subject, we all benefit.