Optimism or Pessimism – It Is Your Choice

February 28, 2011

I was just watching a documentary the other night on the life of President Reagan.  One of his distinguishing characteristics was an almost relentless optimism.  Not a blind or “Pollyanna” type optimism, but a clear-eyed optimism based on his faith in God and his faith in this country.  I don’t know if you agree with his politics or theology, but it is hard to argue with how he led in turning our country around from the malaise and self-doubt that was so prevalent in the late 70’s.

Jim Collins talks about the attitude that should be true of great leaders called the Stockdale Paradox named for the attitude of Admiral James Stockdale who was a POW in Vietnam and survived a brutal captivity. 

This is the Stockdale Paradox:

Confront the Brutal Facts—the Stockdale Paradox: Retain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND AT THE SAME TIME have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

As  followers of Christ and as leaders, we should be the most (realistically) optimistic people in our organizations!  We serve the King of kings and we know “how the Book ends”, so we have great hope in the future – no matter how hard it might be.

” . . . ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off’; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9b – 10

As it says in the book of Josuha – be strong and courageous.

So – a question.  Are you leading with a Christ-led optimism or are you leading with a pessimistic attitude?

BG