“The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects things to change; The Leader adjusts the Sails” – William Arthur Ward

I love this above quote. I always felt the “Glass Half Empty, Glass Half Full” dichotomy was incomplete. This example assumes people are either optimists or pessimists. But what of the people who are more action-oriented? The pessimist whines and complains. The optimist sits around and waits for things to change. The leader recognizes a changeable situation and takes action.

For the pessimist there is always an excuse. The time is never right to take action.

The optimist believes with all their heart that things will change for the better. Unfortunately, they will often merely sit around waiting for the things to change.

The Leader, on the other hand, is all about taking action. The nifty thing about this example is the leader is not one in the traditional sense. Everyone can be a leader. It is not about having a job title or a specific position on a team.

Anyone who makes the decision and takes action to improve things is a leader.

The Leader takes action and is also results oriented. Bill Parcels when asked at the half-way point to a season if he felt like his team had to that point underachieved said, “You are what your record says you are.” At the time his team was 4-4. The talent level on the team would indicate they were better than mediocre. Their point differential would even support the idea that they were better than mediocre. But the only thing that matters is the record. And 4-4 is mediocre.

Going back to the original quote, the pessimist would complain about injuries and bad luck. The optimist might look at the point differential and believe the second half of the season will be better. The Leader will look at the results and make changes.

I feel, personally, the biggest obstacle to taking action is planning. I am a planner. But reality is the road to success in never a straight line. There are many detours along the way. Many times people will spend much too much time in the planning process and never get around to the doing process. I know I am guilty of this.

Ready, Fire, Aim!!

When you are ready to make a change or have a goal that you want to work toward don’t get bogged down in the planning process. Take action! Do something, knowing you will have to adjust course many times prior to hitting your goal. When you notice things are getting a little off course be quick to make adjustments.

I’m reminded of a story that I have no idea from where I heard it. There are two fellows standing at the top of a mountain. They both have the goal of pushing a ball of snow to the bottom of the mountain. The first fellow spends time doing a bunch of calculations, taking into account the growing size of the snowball, predicted wind and weather conditions, the terrain, etc. The second fellow makes a snowball and gets it started down the mountain. When the snowball goes a little off course he nudges it back on course. By the time the first guy gets his snowball moving the second guy has already reached his goal and is at the bottom waiting.