Monday, January 7, 2013

Is optimism the opposite of fear?

As I have mentioned before, fear is a powerful force that can separate you from greatness. But what is the opposite of fear?

A common ice-breaking activity that I have have seen at leadership training workshops is to write down attributes of great leaders. Afraid would never appear on that list. Some of the attributes used to describe great leaders are the opposite of fear: brave, courageous, confident, bold, and fearless.

How about optimism?

Optimism is hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. It is a requirement for bravery, courage, and confidence.

I recently read S. Antony Iannarino's blog post, Four Powerful Beliefs You Must Hold to Succeed In Sales. In his blog post, he describes the following beliefs that are required for success:
  • You can make a difference.
  • You will succeed.
  • Other people will help you.
  • When things go wrong, they'll still work out.
Each of these are really optimistic beliefs. I think that the most important point that Iannarino makes is that optimism is important for success.
"One of the fundamental attributes of all successful people is a sense of optimism, the belief that even if things go wrong, they’ll still work out in the end. This is a powerful belief because it allows one to move from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm, as Churchill once said. It enables resourcefulness, persistence, and determination."
If your beliefs aren't optimistic, then they're either ho-hum or they're pessimistic. You can't possibly inspire people into action if you aren't able to instill a positive belief about where you want them to go.

Is it possible to lead others without optimism?

Watch Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Monty Python on YouTube: