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Leaders Cope with Hope

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to maintain your hope in tough times. Reading time: 2:56

      When he was 67, the life’s work of this famed scientist, inventor of the light bulb and 1200 other patents went up in flames. Seven of his light bulb factories burned down. He was under-insured.

     20130412043138_Thomas-Edison-Quotes- But within 36 hours Tom Edison brought together a team of 1500 people who immediately began building even bigger and better factories.

     “No one is ever too old to make a fresh start,” Edison said.

      Thomas Alva Edison personified the essence of a leader: Hope.

      With hope, there is always a place for us —somehow, someday, somewhere—as Tony and Maria sing in West Side Story.

       Their hopeful voices focused on a greater sense of order, a more meaningful sense of purpose amid the inherent discrimination,  murder, mayhem and the chaos of gangs.

      With hope, breaking points become turning points. Especially when all seems lost. Consider the myth where all the evils of life were allowed to escape from Pandora’s Box and forever haunt humankind. All of the blessings in life also escaped from the box. Except hope.

Tony and Maria in West Side Story

Tony and Maria in West Side Story

       And now, the most effective leaders know, that when the proverbial fires in life have burned everything and left nothing, the most effective leaders still have everything they need.

      With hope.

      In fact, brain researchers note that without hope the brain can’t function.

      Computer generated pictures of the brain —the neocortex— shows that the brain turns off when people “can’t anticipate a positive future,” according to Mike Maccoby in his book Why Work.

      Without hope, people are damned to hell, according to the message inscribed over Dante’s Gates of Hell: “Abandon all hope, Ye, who enter here.”

      That’s why the most effective leaders nurture a sense of hope echoing the passion and purpose of Martin Luther King Jr. when he beamed a ray of hope: “We shall hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

      As James MacGregor Burns, a Pulitzer Prize winning author,J writes in his  book titled Leadership: “Leaders help transform follower’s needs into positive hopes and aspirations.” Indeed, hope as the dictionary defines it is looking forward with desire and with belief in possibility. Hope  can readily be escalated into aspiration –eagerly and ambitiously desirous of a higher goal- as the dictionary defines it.

     No wonder Samuel Taylor Colderidge once wrote “the most ingenious inspirer of hope” is the best physician. And no doubt the best leader.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Inspire hope to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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