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“I usually describe myself as an optimist who worries a lot" Ana Botín

“I usually describe myself as an optimist who worries a lot. "

So said Ana Botín,  Santander Group’s chairperson, in a speech at the Institute of International Finance.

The worried optimist is a description used by several key figures in international affairs.

The Late Madeleine Albright, former USA Secretary of State said, “I Am an Optimist Who Worries a Lot”

In another speech, she said, I was asked to describe myself in six words, and I said, ‘worried optimist, problem solver, grateful American.’ I can’t tell you what it’s like to sit behind a sign that says, ‘United States’, and to do it at the U.N. and as Secretary, and so I have been worried about a lot of the things that have been going on.”

In good humour, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin said, "Jews are optimists with worried faces."

All of us feel anxious and worried at some time. Some of us feel more anxious and more sadness than others. It's in times of anxiety and sadness that it's more important than ever to reaffirm your desire to be more optimistic. 

Where pessimists see problems, optimists may see opportunities. If you change the way you look at issues and challenges, your problems may diminish in importance and can transform into opportunities to learn and discover your inner strengths.

Mistakes and second-best results are opportunities for you to learn, not failures for you to endure. Don't take setbacks personally - they happen to everyone.

As the author R.H. Lewis said to me, "Our voice is the only voice in our head. What we say makes us optimistic or pessimistic. The choice is ours."

If you find yourself preoccupied with a problem, feeling negative, or experiencing self-doubt, change your focus by asking:

What part of the problem is in my control? Acknowledge what you can and cannot control. The things that are out of your control are out of your control. Focus on what you can change.

What's one thing I can do that might make the situation better or solve the problem? 

What positive and productive ideas do I have about overcoming or managing the situation? 

What resources do I have to overcome the threat or situation? 

 What are the opportunities presented to me by the situation?

 Does the situation provide an opportunity for me to learn more about my strengths and positive qualities?

 Can I find humour in the situation? Can I reduce the tension with a joke?

Laugh to Some Optimism Jokes and Humour

 In a world of 7 billion people, does anyone really care about this mistake or setback?  

 What would God say if he was looking over my shoulder?

"If you want to develop as an infectiously optimistic leader, use variations of these questions to empower your team and colleagues to think differently. Always remember, the leader looks like the person in your mirror.”

Read more on Infectiously Optimistic Leadership

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