The attitude of a leader is like an electrical charge where an object has more protons than electrons.

Both the leader and the charge have to be positive.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am pretty easy-going, laid-back, and optimistic.

But still, some things really annoy me.

The lottery is one of them.

The Intricacies of Dealing with the Lottery

Every time I walk into a gas station to pay, I am asked if I want any lottery tickets.

The answer is always no.

I understand McDonald’s trying to upsell you on their fries because chances are, if you are there – you are already hungry.

But the idea that after paying for overpriced gas, you will want to offset that purchase with some lottery tickets?


The odds of winning the lottery are up there with getting struck by lightning 27 times and surviving.

I may not have a Masters in Mathematics, but those numbers don’t sit well with me.

Still, I grew tired quickly of giving the same old “No, thank you” over and over again.

On occasions, if I felt playful, I gave someone something more clever than the standard reply.

It was something along the lines of, “Sorry. I will have to pass. The lottery is nothing more than a tax for people bad at math.”

The look on the attendant’s face was often priceless.

The expression on their face often moved from confused to the desire to laugh to a look of “Oh. I better not laugh at that.”

One summer day when it was pretty hot outside, I ran into the local 7-Eleven for a couple of drinks and got blasted with that pesky question.

“No, thanks. The lottery is nothing more than a tax for people bad at math.”

Lessons Learned from Engaging with Others

What I wasn’t anticipating was the reply.

“At least, it’s an optional tax.”

That put a smile on my face.

This woman was just trying to do her job, and I responded with what could be perceived as mean-spirited, sarcastic, arrogant, or any number of other negative emotions.

I was not being a good example of a leader.

On the other hand, she took my negative and reframed it.

She took my pessimistic words and found a positive spin for them.

Strategies for Successful Reframing

According to Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, authors of “How Great Leaders Think: The Art of Reframing,” reframing involves deliberately looking at situations from more than one vantage point.

In other words, the art of reframing involves cultivating a mindset that seeks alternative perspectives in various situations.

Here are some top strategies that can help:

1. Practice Empathy

Sarcasm and apathy are both related to the disinterest or detachment of a subject.

Apathy is the opposite of empathy.

The Oxford Dictionary defines empathy as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

To get a better insight into practicing empathy, I would recommend reading Are You Leading Others With Empathy?

2. Question Assumptions

We should never assume.

Because when we do, it makes an…

Let’s skip the crude but clever saying and examine our assumptions.

I don’t like the lottery, but others do.

They see it as an opportunity to win money they would not have otherwise.

Some people see it as their only hope for success.

I disagree.

But ultimately, it’s a choice.

We gain so much more insight when we challenge our assumptions and biases to see if there are other explanations for a particular situation.

3. Seek Diverse Viewpoints

I wasn’t looking for a differing opinion when I made my “voluntary tax” comment.

But the cashier was more than willing to share hers.

We can improve our ability to reframe when we engage with people from diverse backgrounds and with different experiences.

This exposure can broaden our understanding of perspectives and viewpoints.

4. Cultivate a Positive Mindset

I usually make a point of cultivating a positive mindset by reading books like “Attitude is Everything” by Jeff Keller.

Different books, audio recordings, podcasts, seminars, and workshops can be used to help cultivate the right mindset.

The same can be said about association.

Hanging around positive people can help you become more positive.

Look for the silver lining when challenges come your way.

Focus on the opportunities or lessons that can come from those difficult experiences.

5. Practice Gratitude

Good leaders have an attitude of gratitude.

Identify and appreciate the positive aspects in every situation, even in the face of adversity.

This can help shift your focus toward more constructive and optimistic thinking.

You can develop the practice through journaling or verbalizing what you are grateful for.

6. Learn From Experiences

My experience at the 7-Eleven taught me a lot about being watchful of my words.

How would my experience have differed if I had just simply said, “No thank you”?

I would have left a better impression on the cashier than I did with my sarcastic tone.

We learn a lot when we reflect on our past experiences and consider how different approaches or mindsets might have led to different outcomes.

Use these insights to guide your perspective in future situations.


To develop the art of reframing, we need to practice empathy, question assumptions, seek diverse viewpoints, cultivate a positive mindset, practice gratitude, and learn from experiences.

Incorporate these practices into your daily life, and you will gradually enhance your ability to reframe.

The better we are at reframing things, the more our leadership is developed.

And this world desperately needs more leaders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *