Optimism and resilience are so highly regarded there are countless career assessments employed to measure this specific area. Does this mean we are seeking unrealistic Pollyanna types? No. The ideal optimist fearlessly faces reality – deliberately uncovering and facing unpleasant facts – while maintaining the course. They are not deflated by obstacles.
One particular book on this topic, The Art of Possibility, has served me well for years. I find myself drawn to it yet again as we move into a new business quarter. Here is a favorite excerpt from the book:
The practice of this chapter is to invent and sustain frameworks that bring forth possibility. It is about restructuring meanings, creating visions, and establishing environments where possibility is spoken — where the buoyant force of possibility overcomes the pull of the downward spiral.
The steps to the practice of framing possibility are:
1. Make a new distinction in the realm of possibility: one that is a powerful substitute for the current framework of meaning that is generating the downward spiral.
2. Enter the territory. Embody the new distinction in such a way that it becomes the framework for life around you.
3. Keep distinguishing what is “on the track” and what is “off the track” of your framework for possibility.
I recommend this book to anyone who aspires to transformational leadership.
For a special treat, here is an 8-minute video of Ben Zander illustrating the power of stopping the downward spiral in its tracks: