Thursday, April 28, 2011

Diane's Diary

Success is often defined by winning. That’s a pretty common notion. If you’ve made the most money, own the biggest house, or if you’ve surpassed your highest ambition, you have achieved success. In most people’s minds, success is easy to measure. It’s generally the person who appears to live a better life than you do. Let me ask you this, though. How often do you consider yourself the successful one? How often do you inventory your own life and say, “Hey, I have a lot of positive things going on right now. My life is a success.” I’m going to venture a guess and say, not very often. It is human nature to look at other peoples lives and believe that their life is better than yours. You view these people as the fortunate few, while unbeknownst to you, their lives could be in even more disarray than yours. Why is that? What makes certain people appear as if life is so much easier for them, than it is for you?

Perhaps this illusion of ease is really a matter of leadership and self-confidence, more than being the recipient of good fortune. And maybe these people create their own opportunities, rather than being the select few who receive all the prosperity in life. Everyone has obstacles that block their path in life. The question is: How do you respond to the roadblocks that arise along the way? Do you look at life from a pessimistic vantage point and say, “I knew things were going too well, it was only a matter of time before I failed.” Or do you take an optimistic viewpoint and say, “This is going to be a challenge, but I am confident I will get through this and I will become stronger in the end for having had this experience.”

Most people lean towards the pessimistic perspective, tending to believe that they are predestined for failure or to lead subpar lives. These are, also, the people who give up and quit when things don’t go quite as planned. They are willing to take on a new challenge, but only to a certain extent. They can handle a little stress on their journey, as long as that stress doesn’t turn into adversity. Once a roadblock arises, a pessimist will surrender to defeat, giving up on their goal completely. They fail to consider how close they were to achieving that goal, and the great deal of satisfaction reaching that goal would have brought them. Conversely, the optimist would view an obstacle as a stepping-stone to reach greater heights. They view challenges as opportunities to learn and to grow. The optimist has the vision and determination to complete a goal, despite the complications that may arise. Challenges bring out the leadership qualities inside them. They refuse to fall down, but rise up instead. And this is where the earlier analogy of “living life with ease” comes in.

The optimist is able to rise up to the challenges that present themselves, and continue to progress forward until they eventually succeed. In their mind, quitting is never an option. Their only choice is working as hard as they possibly can until they overcome their obstacle. This creates the illusion of simplicity, when in reality it is a quality of leadership. A leader understands that hard work translates into success, and has the self-confidence to trust their own instincts and create their own path to success. They realize that there are no shortcuts to completing a task, that perseverance breeds victory. The casual observer generally won’t even know this person was struggling, because the leader used their time to solve their problem instead of sitting around searching for pity. This person conducts themselves in a positive, self-confident manner that is to be respected and not condemned. If you struggle with being overwhelmed by pessimistic attitudes, try to surround yourself with positive, confident people. The more you are around optimistic people, the more you will be able to adopt their traits and become a leader in your own life. And all of a sudden, the person who appears to be easing through life, while everyone else seems to be falling on hard times, will be YOU. You will have become the positive role model that everyone else tries to emulate. You will become the leader that other people call upon to help guide them through the struggles in their lives. You will become victorious, not only in achieving the goal you originally set, but you will be victorious in LIFE.

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