My daughter Lauryn and I try at least once a month to take off on a Saturday morning and go for a drive in the country and talk about life and its ups and downs. Today we talked about two things; one is finding the will and discipline to keep your vision alive, (She wants to be an actor), and the second was, how to keep a good attitude when your world is changing faster than you can keep up.
My daughter and I inherited a gene from someone in our ancestry called “pessimism.” Part of it as well is my Italian culture. There just always seemed to be a reason why you should not show to much joy or be to excited about how well you were doing. Well anyways, Lauryn and I seem to suffer from and be challenged by pessimism. Now I have had people ask me, “How can you be such an optimist?”, Well, honestly, in leadership, pessimism is not really an option. I mean you can still be a visionary and be a pessimist. I don’t think it is very healthy but you can be.
I hate being a pessimist, I really do. It is so contrary to visionary thinking. So how have I come to battle this addiction, and I do believe it is an addiction.
My advice to my daughter. It all begins with self-awareness. You need to recognize and admit that you are a pessimist. You need to listen to your self talk and hear how much of it is negative. To make sure, ask someone who really cares about, “do you think I am a negative person?” Second be committed to whatever it takes to do battle with this attitudinal evil. I think for many people it is easy to be negative, in fact sometimes it down right feels good! Make a commitment to yourself to move beyond negativity and move towards optimism. Thirdly, surround yourself with notes, little sticky things, plaster them everywhere with really cool quotes about people with great attitudes. I just read some really cool stuff about mother Teresa. It inspired me. Fouth, Read an inspiring book, my wife buys these for me, I just finished reading one about four leaders, and their journey’s to success. I find that inspiration diminishes my pessimism. My wife also buys me inspiring calendars every year. They are always hanging in my office. Fifth, great pictures, I have a picture on my wall of Scot and I climbing Mount Salkantay in Souther Peru, I have pictures of canoes all over my office. They remind me of my love for nature. Seriously, turn off the CRAP!, I won’t read newspapers and I refuse to listen to the news on the radio. I listen to radio stations that tell stories or have great sermons. I listen to podcasts of people who have summated mountains or canoed the great white north. I refuse to listen to things that feed my addiction to pessimism.
Lastly, and most importantly show GRATITUDE. One thing more than any other is to have a thankful heart. It is amazing what happens to you when you start the day off thinking of all the wonderful things that you have been blessed with. Do it everyday! Start the morning off and end it off with thankfulness.
What is amazing, I told my daughter today, was that if you practise these disciplines to battle your pessimism and negativity, somehow the will and discipline just naturally follow to stay on track with your dreams and vision.
No problem though, I told her with having a really bad day, God made us human and negatively is a human trait. It’s ok, no sweat.
If you are a struggling pessimist wanting to do battle with this addiction, shoot me an e-mail and let’s chat. Like my daughter and I two can battle better than one.