I have my own nutty idea why California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) is doing so well: He's absolutely convinced he cannot do otherwise.
Some things I've noticed:
He smiles a lot.
He laughs a lot.
He jokes a lot.
He backslaps a lot.
He hands out cigars a lot.
He's more prone to be gung-ho than say oh-no.
And it's clearly contagious: People like to be around him and be moved by him.
How else do you explain his turning around referendum votes doomed to defeat until he got involved?
Some say it's his celebrity. I think it's his attitude. He does not believe in the word "can't."
I've seen this before. Optimists get things done, because they cannot fathom not getting things done.
They see a wall. They walk through it.
They hear a lot of naysayers. They say, enough of it.
While others see the world and get overwhelmed by it, optimists see the same world and relish it, embrace it, challenge it, love it and yes, laugh at it and themselves.
The best CEOs I've ever known, the best leaders I've ever interviewed and the most memorable characters I've ever talked to had this one common quality: They were fun. And more often, they were funny. And they were crazy.
After all, you have to be crazy to come into a state like California and say, "our best days are ahead of us." Or tell a cynical nation two decades ago, as Ronald Reagan did, that it was "morning in America."
The best among us see only the good in us. They make us feel good. Because all too many are too busy making us feel bad.
This is about more than seeing the glass half-full. It's about not even acknowledging it's part empty at all.
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