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Leading With Optimism

Posted at 12:28 AM on Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I read a post in Steve Pavlina's Blog yesterday that is so true.

He references Martin Seligman's Optimism Ratio, first mentioned in his great book, Learned Optimism.

Seligman describes how our use of language in the present can be a fairly accurate predictor of our success in the future . The ratio works by dividing the number of positive words by the number of negative words in a given passage of text, speech, or conversation.

I did this for an article I wrote this morning (which will be next week's lead article in Unleashing Your Potential) and came up with: 53 positives and 46 negatives = 1.15. (Compare this with Steve's assessment from Yahoo News on Feb 23 of .4.)

Using more positive language can have all sorts of impacts on our lives and work. This struck me particularly today because I'm working on a couple keynotes and a teleseminar on leading and championing change.

I have always believed that our language as a change leader or change agent has an impact. The Optimism Ratio puts more credence to my belief.

My challenge to you today is to think about the changes you are facing in more positive ways, and just as importantly, talk about it in positive ways. According to Seligman's research it can be a positive predictor of successful future change.
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