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“An Optimist’s View Going into 2021”

2020 definitely gave us lots of “half empty” things to see. However, this New Year will be defined by our ability to see the “half full” moments.” So writes Simon Sinek in “An Optimist’s View Going into 2021”

For the past couple of years, I have been receiving a daily dose of inspiration from Simon Sinek. The doses are definitely bite-sized – one sentence or occasionally two very short sentences. His daily “Notes to Inspire.” never fail to inspire me either by opening my eyes or reminding me of wisdom I knew . Often I think to myself “Yes, that is how St. Vincent de Paul  and St. Louise served. I think these daily nuggets describe characteristics of our founders and others who best embody the Vincentian charism.

Some 53 million people have been inspired by his TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” A more recent talk Why Good Leaders Make you Feel Safe has already been viewed by 14 million plus people .

I discovered him when I stumbled across his book. Start With Why”.  He shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way. They all stress the WHY of their actions. Just think of Jesus preaching and the kingdom of God. There is much for leaders all those in ministry to reflect on.

An Optimist’s View Going into 2021

In a lengthier than usual reflection, he sees there are some of the silver linings and lessons that came out of 2020 that will help us make 2021 a remarkable and inspiring year. 

He set a context when he writes.

Optimism is about the future.

  • It is not blind positivity nor is it naïve.
  • It is not seeing the glass as half full and ignoring the half of the glass that is empty.
  • It is the ability to see the emptiness of half the glass while choosing to focus the fullness of the other half of the glass.
  • It is the ability to see the good in the face of the bad. It is the practice of looking for the silver-linings in any cloud.

Lessons for 2021

He precedes each of his 5 lessons with an insightful paragraph or two. I was really struck by one.

EMBRACE AHEAD AND BEHIND

I look at social media and see all the postings of people expressing how glad they are that 2020 is over. Except it’s not. Not in the sense of the Infinite Game. Yes, we are passing a calendar marker in an infinite race after a particularly grueling leg, but the race is not over. 

I have been so inspired by Dr. James Carse’s (who sadly died in 2020) thinking about the infinite game – it has taught me not to see things in terms of good or bad but rather in terms of ahead and behind. To see ourselves, our work, our country and the world as part of a continuum.

To think of 2020 as “bad” and “over” ignores the fact that the impact of things that began or grew in 2020 live on and we will be still dealing with them in 2021.

I find it healthier not to think of 2020 as a bad year, but rather that it had more behind days than we would like. And, I look forward to 2021 having many more ahead days. This Infinite Mindset helps us better prepare for what challenges lie ahead and avoid the kind of surprises that throw us off balance. 

What do you think?