The society we live in places a high premium on fantasy, on magic, on fiction, on speculation, on dreaming. It seems the human race is drawn like a magnet to the improbable, to the outrageous, to the impossible.

We, it appears, have an irresistible urge to escape as much and as often as possible from reality.

Want to write a book that will get rave reviews and lots of sales? Write science fiction, fairy tales, or about the “dark side” (witches, vampires, werewolves, etc.). Almost every book publisher rates these topic areas as the best revenue streams for authors.

fantasy mindset unquintessential leadershipWant to have a hit movie or series? Set it in a fictional etherworld (on earth or in space), include magic, fantasy, and a good bit of blood, guts and gore and you’ll be well on your way.

And here’s the thing about fantasy that makes it so appealing. It doesn’t require focused attention, investment in time and effort, thoughtful consideration, and responsive application. Instead, it’s a superficial thing that is a blip on the screen that doesn’t change our lives and allows us to keep on going as we are without missing a blink.

I saw a quote today from an author of very short science fiction books and fairy tales that underscored the difference: ” I found the book to be too description-heavy and too wordy for my taste. Normally I would skim books that are so wordy…” and I thought to myself, “Seriously?” and then I realized this person was speaking a truth that seems to apply to most people.

Reality, therefore, has a very low premium, it seems, among the human race. Things that are factual, knowledgeable, useful, practical, and contain wisdom and truth are disdained and largely ignored.

Reality has depth that requires us to think, to process, to comprehend, to understand, and then to apply. Reality also brings us face-to-face with who we are on the inside and how that needs to change reality quintessential leadership mindsetand improve. It deals with the most important things about life and living, and it can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow.

And we humans, it seems, want to avoid all of that at all costs. It requires investment, time, effort, and then a response. It can be hard work. It can be painful. It can be soul-anguishing.

The mindset that people in leadership positions have determines whether they are quintessential leaders or not. If the mindset is fantasy-oriented, then the person is an unquintessential leader. If the mindset is reality-oriented, the person is a quintessential leader.


Quintessential leaders are not constantly looking for escape, for mindless jaunts into imaginary worlds, with imaginary characters, doing imaginary things.

In fact, quintessential leaders have little patience for fantasy, for improbability, for outrageousness, and for speculation because they know this won’t result in solutions, change, and progress.

In other words, it’s a colossal waste of time in a life that doesn’t have, in the big scheme of things, much of that particular commodity.

Quintessential leaders face life head on and they stay rooted in the perspective and mission of change and progress (change without progress as a complementary perspective and mission is useless and, more often than not, ends with things being even worse than they were before; change for change’s sake is never enough).

Their mindsets, therefore, are reality-oriented in every area of their lives. What’s right? What’s wrong? What’s good? What’s bad? What needs to be done to improve what’s right? What needs to be changed to eliminate what’s wrong? How do we make what’s good better? How do we get rid of what’s bad?

Quintessential leaders are always thinking in terms of the previous questions, no matter what they’re doing, where they are, or who they are with. They are much more observant than those who have fantasy mindsets, and seldom miss anything in their observations.

Even – and most of the time we won’t – if they never say a word, quintessential leaders see, process (consider, evaluate, determine relevance, truth, rightness, goodness, usefulness, wisdom), decide to keep or reject, and if we keep, then apply just about everything that’s important in terms of people and life that crosses our paths.

Fantasy-minded people in leadership positions tend to have almost-nonexistent observation skills, tend to live in the moment only, and have poor and slippery memories. They are, ultimately, then completely untrustworthy.

So, the question that each of us, fellow quintessential leaders must ask ourselves is, “What is my mindset?” 

Am I spending most of my time and energy and effort on things that are fantasy-based, not real, not true, improbable, speculative, outrageous? If the answer is “Yes,” then we have developed a fantasy mindset and are wasting not only our time, but the time of all the teams we lead in our lives. We are not living up to quintessential leadership and need to change. Starting today.

If the answer turns out be that we have a reality mindset, we’re not off the hook. The questions we should immediately ask are how and what can we do to change the degree, the improve the content, and to make progress in developing this mindset further. That also needs to happen today.

How are we doing?



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