28 Mar Be Authentically Optimistic
Be Authentically Optimistic
If you’re a person who wakes up and turns on the radio, clicks on your favorite news site, or opens up an actual, physical newspaper, then it’s pretty likely that you start your day off with a litany of seemingly intractable problems. Gun violence, immigration, trade, war and more dominate our headlines and too often our consciousness, making it easy to forget to open our eyes and see what’s good and right, what’s possible, and where we can go from here.
One of the five essential behaviors of a leader that we teach about at Team Tipton is authentic optimism. In our experience, transformational change leaders refuse to get bogged down under the weight of the challenges around them. Rather, they choose to see possibility, choose joy, and in doing so infuse those feelings in others around them. This effect is objective and measurable – in study after study, optimism improves health outcomes, from high blood pressure and heart disease to chronic pain and even cancer.
It’s important to understand that authentic optimism does not mean overlooking challenges or ignoring data. Rather, it means taking stock of a situation head-on, making a reasonable plan and moving forward.
Consider the words and actions of primatologist, conservationist and human rights advocate, Dr. Jane Goodall:
“We still have a long way to go. But we are moving in the right direction. If only we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution-and realize, at last, our most unique quality: humanity.”
* Image courtesy of: https://www.naturalnews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/91/2017/06/Jane-Goodall.jpg
Jane Goodall started her study of chimpanzees at a time and place where women were rarely scientists and where the study of animal behavior disavowed the assumption that people could understand animal behavior on human terms. Passionately driven by a love of animals that she learned from the Dr. Dolittle books, Jane began her work in partnership with famed paleontologist Louis Leakey, despite the supposed limitations that were put on her from outsiders who knew that her work couldn’t be taken seriously.
So began an illustrious career that produced some of the most important scholarship of the 20th century. Jane Goodall’s research methods and results have literally transformed our ideas of what it means to be human, of our responsibility to our primate cousins, and as stewards of the earth. Her work with and love for chimpanzees led to her role as a conservationist to protect their habitats. And her work understanding chimpanzee behavior as a mirror of human behavior led to her international activism for human rights and realizing our full potential as humans with the capacity for love, generosity and empathy.
Hers is an example of authentic optimism. Not the blithely naive kind of optimism that ignores reality, but an optimism borne of hope, belief in her own capacity, and belief in the essential goodness of humanity. Her optimism has transformed the life of many, animals and humans alike, and is an example to us all.
Until next time, let’s be authentically optimistic…
All our best,