Among the topics that young people study before they enter the workforce is calculus, the mathematics of change and motion. While training in calculus is undoubtedly valuable, I believe that training in optimism is also important.
Just as it is good discipline to solve problems like the velocity of a car at a certain moment in time, it is also crucial to figure out what drives people to give us the very best that they have to offer. Ironically, Leibniz, one of the inventors of calculus, is also known for his philosophy of optimism. He was considered to be an inveterate optimist, asserting that we live "in the best of all possible worlds". Optimism is an emotional competence that can help boost productivity, enhance employee morale, overcome conflict and have a positive impact on the bottom line.
In writing about optimism, you face the danger of being seen as advocating a "Pollyanna" or quixotic approach. The truth is, however, optimism has been proven to be a powerful tool that will pay dividends for your personal life and give you a competitive advantage professionally in your career. There is a lot to be gained, indeed, in cultivating an optimistic outlook.
Take leadership, for example. Nowhere is optimism more important than in leading organizations. Highly effective leaders have a transforming effect on their constituents: they have the gift of being able to convince others that they have the ability to achieve levels of performance beyond those they thought possible. They are able to paint an optimistic and attainable view of the future for their followers: They move others from being stuck with "how things are done around here" and help them see "how things could be done better".
In The Leadership Advantage, an essay from the Drucker Foundation's Leader to Leader Guide, Warren Bennis tells us that optimism is one of the key things people need from their leaders in order to achieve positive results. Every "exemplary leader that I have met," writes Bennis, "has what seems to be an unwarranted degree of optimism – and that helps generate the energy and commitment necessary to achieve results."https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_72.htm