Article by John Addison

Have you ever asked someone how they were doing — and then immediately wished you could stuff the words back into your mouth? This tends to happen when we encounter people who radiate negativity. They gripe about how terrible life is and how difficult things are for them. They drag you down with how they view the world.

I always say that if somebody asks how you’re doing, the appropriate response is “Unbelievably.” Whether life is awful or wonderful for you at the moment, that answer is accurate. There is no reason to drag others down with your negativity. If you react to struggle with as much positivity as possible, your behavior will encourage others to do the same.

People are naturally drawn to leaders who see the world through a lens of optimism. Nobody wants to work for a manager who thinks the organization will fail. No one wants a mentor who doesn’t believe in their company’s ability to overcome hardship. People want to be led by those who see the world with hope, excitement, and happiness.

Optimistic leaders have three main qualities:

1. They Anticipate the Joy in Life

When I was a child, I used to love the anticipation of the Christmas season. On November 1, I would make a chain of construction paper rings that counted down the number of days until Christmas. I’d tear one ring off the chain each day until Christmas arrived.

The holiday itself was fun, but I enjoyed the days leading up to Christmas even more. I’m the same way now — and so are great leaders. They don’t dwell on the challenges their organizations face. Rather, they anticipate the exciting opportunities to come.

2. They Let Gratitude Guide Them

Life is short, and we need to be grateful for it. My father, with whom I was very close, passed away recently at the age of 92. I was an only child, and my mother died many years ago. My father lived an amazing life. He was healthy up until the very end. I remember talking to him in his last weeks of life, and he said, “I just can’t believe I’m this old.” Life flies by, and we need to be grateful for each passing moment.

Exceptional leaders regularly thank their team members for their work. They let them know they appreciate their efforts and value their commitments.

3. They Expect to Win

Optimistic leaders have the mindset that victory is always within reach. They know they can win. It’s better to be disappointed in losing than it is to expect you’ll fail. If you expect to win, your hopeful mindset will ripple throughout your organization.

Living with an optimistic mindset guarantees that whatever life hands you, you’re going to be happier. You’re going to be more fulfilled. You’re going to cope with challenges better. Most importantly, you’re going to have a positive impact on those around you.

A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com and in the Fall 2018 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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