Most of us fear the world around us, assuming it’s full of landmines and threats. But leaders see the world as being full of opportunities and ready to be explored and experienced. Which worldview is yours? Let’s think bigger and better about our surroundings and enjoy the world a little more.

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Leaders who influence their world and succeed in their pursuits see the world differently than people who don’t lead.

I can remember being a 19 year old young adult, newly married, pastoring a church, starting out in leadership and wondering… what is it that separates those who seem to thrive and do well and lead healthy, growing organizations and those who seem to remain stuck?

I’ve come to the conclusion that a huge part of it is the way leaders see the world.

Here are five big examples…

1. Most people see the world as full of landmines and threats, but leaders see the world as a land to be explored, experienced, and enjoyed.

People who stay stuck behind the line of mediocrity are often scared and live in fear. They’d much rather play it safe behind the walls of their personal fortress. They see the world outside as a field of landmines. It’s lurking with danger. Most people shrink back and hide behind whatever is familiar, even if what is familiar isn’t healthy.

Leaders, however, tend to see the world as a land to be explored, experienced, and enjoyed. They tend to go places and discover things and meet people that others miss out on.

2. Most people believe the world is full of unlikeable people who are to be avoided, but leaders see a world full of people who need to be loved and led.

I’m not talking about being introverted. I’m introverted. This is not about personality. This is about perceiving that the world is full of people that I don’t want anything to do with. We have a general perception that most people are not like me, don’t see the world the way I do, and so I probably wouldn’t get along with them. People who stay stuck tend to see the world as being full of people that I don’t really like.

But leaders tend to see the world as a place where people need to be led and loved. Leaders believe the people around them have potential.

Related: 10 of the Best Christian Books on Vision and Leadership

3. Most people see the world as being full of unfixable problems, but leaders see a world full of problems for which solutions can be discovered.

We tend to give up on the world and to look at problems as being too big to solve. Whether you’re talking about global issues like hunger and poverty and disease or localized issues like your own organization or family not being healthy, most people feel helpless to change the current situation.

But leaders see the world as being filled with problems they can help solve. People who influence and impact their world tend to go to work on situations. Whether it’s inventing electricity or eradicating AIDS, feeding the hungry or planning for better infrastructure, leaders tend to be part of the solution rather than pessimistically believing that most problems are just too big to mess with.

4. Most people see the world as a place to consume, while leaders see the opportunity to make a contribution.

Most people live with a scarcity mentality and believe that there isn’t enough to go around. We believe that those who have have simply taken more than their fair share from those who have not, and so our big goal in life should be to collect, consume, and save all that we can for ourselves.

Leaders, on the other hand, tend to view the world as a place to make a contribution. They might want to earn money, build wealth, or grow their influence, but their motive for doing so is to make a contribution to the lives of others.

5. Most people believe it’s impossible to be one of the winners, while leaders believe we all have the potential to win.

We often believe that prosperity, popularity, and affluence are reserved for a select few and we just don’t fit in.

Leaders, on the other hand, believe the world is a place where we can all be winners, where all of us can emerge and move toward greatness.

If you want to lead your organization, your family, or your community well, you need to see it as a place where there’s plenty of room. Zig Ziglar used to say, “I’ll see you at the top.” Great leaders see life as an opportunity for all of us to emerge, and for all of us to grow and to improve.

Leaders see problems as opportunities to fix things

Leaders just see the world differently.

When I first started in leadership, at 18 and 19 years old, I tended to live behind walls of fear. I didn’t want to venture too far out. I didn’t want to put myself out there too much because I was afraid of what people might think. I was afraid of what the world was really like.

And yet I really believe that people who lead and grow and emerge are people who are willing to have their worldview expanded. And instead of looking at everything with a fearful, critical eye, leaders look at everything with a hopeful eye.

Are you afraid of the world around you, or do you welcome it?

Do you think there are just a few people that get to be successful, or can everyone be successful?

Are there problems that are just too big to fix (so why bother trying?), or is it a place where we can all chip in and do our part and make a difference in the world around us?

Photo credit: Kelsey Knight

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