You Find What You Look For

Pessimists think optimists are monkeys catching elephants in a trapeze act without a net.

Dark leadership:

You never get ahead by burying your head in the sand. You earn leadership opportunities by confronting tough issues, solving problems, and seizing opportunities. 

Leaders don’t need encouragement to anticipate darkness and difficulties. But if you aren’t careful, you walk around always waiting for the other shoe  to drop.

Anticipation of bad news prevents you from fully enjoying good news.

Don’t get too happy. Inevitable sadness feels easier to bear. You don’t dare to be too happy because the fall to sadness seems inevitable. It feels safe and wise to temper happiness. 

Two old men:

Two old men have been friends for years.  One of them becomes gravely ill, and the other visits him in the hospital.

They are chatting, when the friend pauses. “Since you are on your deathbed, I wonder if you could do me a favor. When you get to Heaven, can you let me know if they play baseball there?”

His sick friend agrees. Shortly after, he passes away.

A few days later, the surviving friend wakes to hear his deceased friend’s voice.

Deceased Friend: I have good news and bad news.

Living Friend: What’s the good news?

DF: There’s baseball in Heaven!

LF: Great! What’s the bad news?

DF: You’re scheduled to pitch tomorrow.

(My living friend Anthony Demangone, Executive Vice President and COO of NAFCU, posted this joke on his blog a week ago.)


  1. Assume the worst. Find the worst.
  2. Look for problems. Find difficulties and obstacles.
  3. Look for progress. Find gratitude. (The benefits of gratitude make it a magic elixir for health and happiness.)
  4. Search for opportunities. Find energy.

You find what you look for. Then you justify your findings.

How might leaders be alert for darkness and also see the bright?

Afterword: I’m not suggesting you bury you head in the sand. Just look for more than negatives, if you ever hope to be a positive leader.