Jan Vogler, Amanda Gorman and the Need for Optimism

"What I admire about Amanda Gorman is her optimism that is really visionary, and we need that, I think, in our time,"  cellist Jan Vogler told NPR's Michel Martin.

I think about this a lot: the need for optimism and the visionary of magnetic optimists.


This year, I hope to offer more "magnetic optimism" masterclasses.  Magnetic optimism is an optimism so tangible, a vision so inspiring that people want to lean forward, reach out, and touch it. The magnetic optimist spreads positivity through smiles, eye contact, laughter, storytelling and narrative, curiosity and positive questioning.

I often return to these quotes in my book, "Optimism: The How and Why":

Michael Franti, Musician: "I believe the great battle that's taking place in the world isn't between left and right. It's between cynicism and optimism. There are people who believe it's possible to create a better life and a better world. When we lose that sense of optimism is when we quit, when we give up."

Penny Mordaunt MP, UK’s Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council: “The faultline in politics at the moment is not between left and right but between optimists and pessimists. We need optimists for the next tough shift.”

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, President of Singapore: "Creating bases for optimism has to be our central task everywhere in the world and through global collaboration. We must create bases for optimism to see ourselves through this long storm and to emerge intact; emerge a better place, and it can be done."

Sam Altman, ChatGPT: “We have lost our collective sense of optimism about the future. We should all act as if regaining it is a duty. The only way I know of to return to that optimism is to use technology to create abundance."

 Armando Gonzalo Alvarez Reina, Ambassador of Mexico to Indonesia: “Optimism is precisely what we need more in these times.”

 Bruce Springsteen, Singer: "I think what you need at this moment is a kind of fighting optimism."

Frances Adamson, Governor of South Australia: “In international relations optimism needs to be harnessed to policy development, advocacy, consensus building and effective implementation in order to produce outcomes which support peace and prosperity."

Helen Szoke, then CEO at Oxfam Australia: "We don’t have the luxury of not being optimistic.  There is too much in the world that needs optimism as the force for good and the motivation for change to make the world a better place."

Diane G. Tillman, Living Values Author: “Optimistic leadership is very needed at this critical juncture in the world.

As these leaders articulate it across various fields, optimism is the linchpin that promises a better future. It is not a mere sentiment but a strategic approach to life and leadership. It's about recognising our power to envisage and forge a brighter tomorrow. Optimism is the wellspring of innovation and the antidote to stagnation. It invites us to remain steadfast in our endeavours, even when confronted with life's inevitable adversities.

The diverse voices remind us that optimism is universal in its relevance and application. The common thread can unite individuals, communities, and nations in pursuing progress. As I reflect on these powerful declarations, I am reminded that optimism is both a responsibility and a privilege. It empowers us to act with conviction, to lead with purpose, and to instil hope in others. It is this brand of optimism, one that is relentless and unwavering, that we must nurture and spread. For it is in doing so that we not only imagine a better world but take the necessary steps to realise it.


What's Your Optimism Superpower?







Keep up to date with the latest from Centre for Optimism

We appreciate any contribution you can make to help us spread optimism with the world
Give Today

Connect With Us

We love to connect with everyone who is ready to open up and share their optimisim.