Leaders Are Not Romantic They’re Optimistic

True Leadership is not romanticism or idealism.
These are both illusion.
True leadership is realistic optimism.
The realization that you can make a difference in your life and in the world.

This is our fifth installment of the 6 Ground Rules of Grit. This far we’ve covered the first 4 ground rules:

  1. Love
  2. Commitment to Mastery
  3. Purpose
  4. Emotional Strength and Mental Toughness

If you’re behind in the series, you can go here to catch up.

Let’s start this installment by making a sharp distinction between romanticism and optimism. 

Because the romanticism is highly dysfunctional while the optimism is highly functional. 

The romantic idealist and the optimist are two entirely different beasts.
The former is highly dysfunctional living in illusion.
While the latter is highly functional grounded in realization.

The next ground rule for grit is optimism. 

Optimism brings hope.

Optimism holds a positive outlook for the future. Not the outlook of romantic idealism that everything will work out “perfect.” 

For what is really “perfect” after all?

But the future vision of the Leader and optimist is the deep-seated belief that he can make a difference in life and situations.

We’ve discussed the plague of suicides affecting the world in previous entries. 

We’ve also discussed that any crisis of economy, energy, or terror we may have can’t even compare to the crisis of meaning in today’s world.

When we lose our hope for a meaningful life,
we lose all optimism and zest for life. There’s hope.

When we dissect hope down to its primary driver, we’ll find that all hope is founded in the belief that in some way, great or small, the future can be better than the past or present.

If you get up in the morning and think
the future is going to be better,
it is a bright day. Otherwise it’s not.
~ Elon Musk

Grit founded in love, commitment to mastery, purpose, emotional strength and mental toughness, added to optimism brings that hope. 

Optimism is the last hope of all
setbacks and temporary loss.

You see, there’s a big difference between defining a situation as a “failure” versus defining it as a “temporary setback.”

Failure Is Your Friend

While you might think this is just semantics, try both concepts on. 


Temporary setback.

Say them outloud.

Notice how different they feel. 

If you pay attention, you’ll notice they feel vastly different.

Temporary setbacks are the choice of grit and optimism. For temporary is just that… temporary.

When we define things as temporary it brings optimism and hope. 

This is not just the lingo of personal performance by the way. This is science. Grounded in the psychological research of Dr. Martin Seligman, the leading authority and founder of the field of Positive Psychology.

Seligman’s research proves ultimate performers define all setbacks as temporary.

On the contrary, amateurs define them as permanent.

What do you do?

The so-called failure of the amateur,
is defined only as a temporary setback by the leader.

When you develop the belief in yourself, the belief that you can and will make a difference in your future and the world, then you develop an optimistic view.

Once again, not a romantic view.

You don’t necessarily believe it’ll be easy, for most often it won’t be. 

But you know it will be meaningful.

Don’t wish for easy.
Easy is the illusion of amateurs.
Wish for the strength and endurance
to create something meaningful.

Be a Leader. Live Your Purpose; and Take Your Power Back!