In the first year, the optimists outsold the pessimists by 8 percent and proved far less likely to quit. In the second year, the optimists increased the sales gap to 31 percent.
Here are a few precepts, drawn loosely from the Lewis and Clark expedition, of maintaining a realistic optimism while leading your team into the unknown:
- Start out with a good mind-set. From the get-go, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark expected to succeed.
- Keep things in perspective. At the beginning of their trip, Lewis and Clark endured a series of mishaps. They took on each crisis as a separate event, not presuming that they were linked and the expedition doomed.
If your own series of calamities is closely tied to the essential nature of a project, you can view it as a warning. But if the glitches are generic, don’t lump them all together in your mind.
- Know that you’ll overcome problems. The explorers believed two things: If someone had accomplished something, they could do it. And if everyone said something could never be done, they would try.
- Act. Don’t let reality paralyze you. Embrace it with the adage, “Nobody said this would be easy.” Every day, Lewis and Clark did something to improve their situation.