Sail Into The Wind

William Arthur Ward is known for the following quote:

The pessimist complains about the wind
The optimist expects it to change
The realist adjusts the sails.

As I read those lines, I chew the words in my mind. I ask myself the following questions:

  • What good does complaining do? What will it change?
  • If the wind changes, what can I do about that? Will a change in the wind be in my favor or at odds with me? Can I do anything about it?
  • The wind will blow where the wind will blow. How do I harness the power of the wind?

I think that about sums up the three kinds of characters in Ward’s quote. The questions you ask will be the direction your life will go.


I want to take you deeper. I want to make you the realist, or, as I like to call the realist, the leader.

The leader realizes he has no control over the direction of the wind. The wind will do what it will.

Will the leader complain about the direction of the wind? No, he knows that will do no good. Complaining has never served a leader well. It never will.

The next action someone may take is to expect the wind to change in a favorable direction. That’s a great thought to have. You can think about how the wind might change all day long. You won’t be able to control the wind. The wind will blow in whatever direction it pleases. You cannot do a thing about it.

As a leader, our job is to lick our finger, stick it into the air, feel the direction of the wind, and then adjust our sails.

When we adjust our sails, we’re not changing the direction of the wind. We’re not bemoaning the wind isn’t blowing in the right direction.

Rather, we harness the power of the wind. We use what we have to have the wind move us in the direction we want to go.

By controlling the sails, you are able to move in the direction you want. Even if that direction is into the wind.

Watch the video below to find out how sailboats sail into the wind.

You can go wherever your heart desires when you’re controlling the sails. Let’s stop complaining about the things we cannot change. Let’s stop hoping for brighter das.

Instead, let’s seize control of the sail, adjust it to set our course, and set sail.

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