Leaders learn the need for OPTIMISM.  Cynicism and pessimism occasionally serve a purpose but optimism is key for long-term results. I recently saw a post on a parenting blog about optimistic and pessimistic children that reminded me of a story I used to tell in management training.

It is the story of the optimistic child and the pessimistic child. The Father of  two young boys created a room full of all the latest toys and sent the pessimistic son in to play. Some time later, he checked back and the boy was sitting silently in the center of the room, the treasure of toys untouched. “What are you doing my son?” he asked, to which the boy responded, “If I play with the toys I am sure to break them and then they won’t be good anymore.” The Father filled a second room with a load of horse manure and sent his optimistic son into this room. Some time later the Father checked on this one to find that he was running around laughing and cheering and tossing the dung around. “What are you doing my son?” he asked, to which the boy responded, “With all this poo, there must be a pony in here somewhere!” pony

This coined the phrase “find the pony” used to encourage all of us to look for good in every situation. President Ronald Regan popularized the “find the pony” phrase when he used it in a press conference during his time in office.

Sometimes it is hard to stay optimistic in our changing world but optimism is the best outlook on life…looking on the bright side.  Do you have a method to stay optimistic in times of change? Can you remind yourself to look for the pony?

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