The History of The Centre for Optimism
"At its simplest, optimism is an expectation that good things will happen and that things will work out in the end."
Our founder Victor Perton had been working globally as a trade and investment commissioner and then as an adviser to the Australian G20 presidency.
Everywhere he went there was a positive welcome based on a favourable stereotype of the Australian character and narrative.
Moving back to Australia Victor was bewildered by the negativity towards leadership in a country with one of the world's highest standards of living. He also noted a change in language with a greater negativity in general conversation.
Rather than complain about the complainers, Victor established The Australian Leadership Project to explore the traits of Australian leadership. After many interviews and shared research, Victor and the team concluded that there was a distinctive Australian leadership style which was popular in other countries and by organisations around the world. The three traits which distinguish Australian leaders from global leaders in general were: Egalitarianism; Self-Effacing Humour; and NO BS Plain Speaking. The leadership was pretty good from small business to NGOs to government.
So why the continuing negativity?
Victor's 'aha' moment came at the Global Integrity Summit - it's not so much a problem with leadership but a fog of pessimism.
That problem is not unique to Australia. Similar countries like Canada and New Zealand have suffered a diminution of optimism both personal and out-ward facing.
The research shows that optimism is the underpinning of longevity, good health, resilience, strategy and innovation.
Yet there is a global mood of pessimism.
Encouraged by a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Victor turned his speech from the Global Integrity Summit into a book, "The Case for Optimism: The Optimists' Voices." The book became popular very quickly and Victor's work evolved into keynote speeches, panels and lectures on The Case for Optimism.
Victor's question to others on this evolved to become "What makes you Optimistic?"
Questions to Victor revolved around, "How do I become more optimistic?" and "I'm an optimist but am belittled for being so."
Victor developed a series of workshops which he delivered in universities, companies, community groups, government departments and even prisons (for prisoners and managers).
In August 2019, Victor was asked to help out with an innovation initiative. Victor was challenged to take his mission global.
That day, the Centre for Optimism was born.
Soon after, it opened a conference centre in Melbourne, Australia. However soon after that, Melbourne moved into lockdown and the physical centre closed. The Centre moved online for its events.
The Centre has built a great advisory board, has over 6000 members and subscribers from 82 countries and over 100,000 followers on social media.
The idea of the Centre for Optimism is to build and empower a global community of optimistic people to ask that question "What makes you optimistic?"
The idea of The Centre for Optimism is to help deliver the materials and tools to enable anyone to become a more infectiously optimistic leader.
We believe the leader looks like the person in your mirror.
What's at the Core of The Centre for Optimism?
We ask "what makes you optimistic?"
We believe the times call for realistic and infectiously optimistic leaders.
We are a movement supporting realistic and infectiously optimistic leaders to be beacons in the fog of pessimism and cynicism.
We believe the leader is the person in your mirror.
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