The Little Engine that Could is an American fairy tale that became widely known in the 1930s. Through an online poll of teachers, The National Education Association rated it as one of the Top 100 books for children, because of its key message of the importance of optimism and hard work.
The story’s signature phrase, I Think I Can is a key memory I have from childhood on the importance of self belief and self determination. My wife Wendy and I did our best to instill this concept in both our children.
Where and with whom would a bunch more “I can” and “I know you can” statements support greater achievement and life satisfaction in your personal and professional communities?
“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a Cha-Cha.”
—Robert Brault, Freelance American Writer
Image from Unsplash by Isaiah McClean
As an optimist, I see life as a dance in which we all play a part in the magnificent miracle of living.
If we slow down a bit to observe our surroundings, and even our inner worlds, we will note different rhythms and cycles of give and take, up and down, back and forth. Perhaps it is these cha-cha’s of life that keep things in balance and simply bring workability to our world.
Where and how can you more fully recognize and appreciate the steps backwards in life as integral and important aspects of a happy life?
“Optimism is a kind of heart stimulus. The Digitalis of Failure.”
—Elbert Hubbard, 18th Century American Writer
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Digoxin is a drug extracted from Digitalis Lanata, a plant found primarily in Eastern Europe. It is used to treat heart conditions.
Consider how you or those around you define Failure. What if it were akin to a heart condition that could be treated effectively with a drug called Optimism? You’d probably keep a ready supply by your bedside, in your pocket or purse.
How would sprinkling it over yourself or those around you be just the cure to relieve the potential failures of life?
How can you more fully and generously share your most hopeful and optimistic qualities and characteristics?
Where can you use it to heal and strengthen your own heart, and the hearts of others? How can you use it to help yourself and others bounce back from the setback and failures that come along?
—Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th President of the United States
What battles are you fighting in your personal or professional lives? Along with optimal training and the best equipment possible, Eisenhower advises us to bring a “Can Do,” optimistic attitude to win the day.
All students of leadership would agree that articulating a hopeful and positive future is essential to engender the buy-in and alignment of our troops, family, and teams.
If the phrase, “What we think about comes about” is true, who would ever follow a reluctant, half-hearted, pessimistic leader anywhere? After all, they aren’t even sure they want to go themselves.
Where and in what ways can you be an optimistic “General,” leading yourself and others within your communities to a better future?
One of the distinct benefits of working with coaches, mentors, and advisors is that they give their clients access to outside, mostly objective perspectives on matters of great importance.
One frequently used tool is the open-ended question, which encourages the exploration of new dimensions of thinking.
At times, almost all of us lack the sunny, confident view on issues that are not turning out as we would like. Asking “What would an optimistic, confident person do?” can lift the dark clouds and pessimistic perspective that often creeps into our thoughts.
Select an important issue or matter that is bringing you down. Shine the light of greater optimism and confidence on it, to move you forward to a more desirable outcome.
“Optimism is essential to achievement, and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.”
-Nicholas Murray Butler, 20th Century president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Image from questionpro.com
Would you like to live a longer, happier, more fulfilling and successful life?
Over the past two decades, I’ve conducted an unscientific, subjective assessment which indicates that my more optimistic clients are more successful and fulfilled during and beyond their coaching engagements.
Other scientifically verified sources attribute a number of benefits to optimism, including:
“Why is Monday so far from Friday, and Friday so near to Monday?”
Image from kappit.com
The practice of looking forward is a powerful thing. When there is something desirable in our future, or when we are having fun, time literally flies. Conversely, when the future is undesirable or dreaded, time slows down, or seems to prolong the discomfort.
This is where a magical pair of forward-looking glasses can be helpful. The secret to this visionary tool is to look for, design, and create new and better futures in as many areas of life as possible, where the anticipation of a better tomorrow is always there to be embraced and enjoyed.
How can a more creative, optimistic, forward-looking perspective enhance the quality of each of your Mondays and Fridays to come?