By Jean-Paul Cortes
What is the secret shared by all who succeed?
There's an enigmatic lining behind the personality of successful people, if you look closely you'll find that most share an ability to focus on the positive.
You may think that some people are simply natural optimists and you're probably right. The fact is that great leaders, when confronted by the most harrowing of circumstances, seemingly always look, and find, the bright side of things.
Let's look at these 3 stories:
There was a time where the World's attention was fixated on great expeditions. Indeed, explorers were treated like heroes and a great amount of respect was given to them by their countries and people. Among these, we find Sir Ernest Shackleton, an Irish explorer known best for his extraordinary feat of leadership in what's known as the "Endurance Expedition" later dubbed "Shackleton's Expedition".
One of history's great adventures in the early 1900's was reaching and exploring the Antarctic regions, it was called the Heroic Age Of Antarctic Exploration.
What made Shackleton's Expedition different were the overwhelming circumstances that were faced by the 28 members of the crew. At a certain point, they had to face up to the stark reality that they had no means of getting back home; their ship had become stuck in the ice and eventually was swallowed up by it. The chances of survival had become slim at best. And yet, the men credit the successful efforts and leadership of their captain with saving their lives...all 28 of them.
In the 22 months that the ordeal lasted, Sir Ernest kept an optimistic mind-set; never giving up, always keeping his head up. Perhaps the description made of him by one of the men, Thomas Orde-Lees sums it up best: "He never appears to be anything but the acme of good humor and hopefulness".
This great woman's life reflects a passion for upholding what's right. In a period of history where women were considered less than men, Eleanor Roosevelt's dogged determination and optimism allowed her to become one of Americas' most revered women of her generation. In her autobiography "This Is My Story" Eleanor Roosevelt remarks: ...you learn that no amount of care will ward off the accidents and all you can do is to meet them, as they come along, with a calm and steadfast spirit."
Perhaps what's most indicative of her optimistic mind set was her plight to stand up for the rights of the underprivileged of the World, regardless of their creed, race or nation. Even in the face of tough criticism, she decidedly kept on doing her work and succeeded.
This former president of South Africa spearheaded the anti-apartheid movement; it was through his raw determination, optimism and his ability to see beyond his present condition that he was able to survive nearly three decades of imprisonment by the South African establishment.
It was his time in prison, where Mandela was forced to work hard labor in a lime quarry, that best exemplifies the importance of an optimistic mind-set. Being a political and black prisoner qualified him to be among the lowest of the low; in his book "Long Walk to Freedom" we can glimpse how this great man faced adversity with courage and resolve and optimism. In a letter to one of his friends, he remarked that "any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose."
We're not that much different from these great leaders. People have always had the opportunity to turn "life's lemons" into lemonade.
The great reminder to each and every one of us, is that although we can seldom control circumstances, we can control the way we feel about them. The magic of believing that there is a better tomorrow, may surprise even the decided skeptic.
Optimists are unquestionably more successful at what they do, because the expectation of success makes them work harder to achieve their goals.
Rather than focusing on whatever can go wrong, they choose to focus on actively finding solutions and then with that vision in mind set to conquer and win. The sweet taste of success is what drives them forward in difficult times.
The optimistic mind-set does not have to be that hard. It's so much easier to think of the possibilities, than to wallow in the negative.
All you have to do is start by deciding that from this point on, every time you're faced with difficult circumstances you will not only observe where your thoughts are being focused, but you will also engage in going after what you propose to achieve, regardless of the outcome.
When you learn to live with this mind-set you’ll rediscover the god that lives within and you’ll start living your life with renewed passion and earnest resolve.
Pass go…forget the $200 and go directly to Park Place, it’s your life and you must live it throughout.
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