I have been a pretty upbeat person for about 3 decades, I guess you could say, all told. Optimism is essential.
There was an time in the early 90’s that I would ‘think too much’. It really was quite annoying. Just negative stuff all the time. I wasn’t really sure how to stop. But I knew I had to do something.
I had a friend that really seemed to have his proverbial shit together and I started hanging around him more to find out what it was that he was doing to keep him so damn chipper all the time.
I guess you could say he was a mentor because all I know that I wanted to do at that time in my life was stop the incessant chatter in my head.
I think that when I found out that he read “The Handbook to Higher Consciousness“, I found the answer. So I found and bought the book.
I don’t have a great memory but I am pretty sure I read the whole book. I need to read it again as a refresher. I tend to not finish things that are of advantage to me, so I may not have finished it.
You would think that being aware of the fact that I don’t finish things, I would stop not finishing. But not really. Need to work on that.
Awareness was not really in my vocabulary at that point in my existence…
But being more positive and optimistic did kick in. I would consciously work on finding the silver lining, as it were, and would be told by people that they liked being around me because of my outlook on things.
That always feels good.
I would have some awesome nights at billiards back then where I was unstoppable!! I would see the shot go in and it just did! Well, after I hit it, I mean.
Just having a great attitude towards something at work makes the day go easier. In my industry(hospitality), there are a lot of details and facets to be mindful of.
I was careful about thinking about my next days’ work and its positivity. Rarely did I have an angry client to appease.
Whereas someone else might see gloom and doom and that is exactly what comes. They have envisioned a crap day and it materializes.
Your dreading or dreaming your immediate future can cause a terrible or delightful feedback loop. It’s up to you.
What is a feedback loop? Well, if your day starts off well, it will tend to stay that way and get better, and vice versa. You get up in the morning feeling refreshed and get the kids off to school with no issues and then your drive to work is easy-peasy…that turns into getting kudos from your boss in front of the rest of the crew.
Or just think of just the opposite of what I just wrote…you tend to spiral up…or down.
But anyways, I am here to talk about optimism, right?
Well, optimism is, by definition, hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.
Optimism is not just dreaming or ‘knowing’ about a great future in the intangible sense, there are several other desirable effects, as well.
Optimism’s Side Effects
- Stress reduction-Think of it. When you think positive(not if, but when), you are not worrying. Pretty simple.
As a matter of fact there are several facets to the thinking positive. Choosing your words, for one. 1)Use ‘when’ instead of ‘if’ where the situation allows. This shows certainty of an outcome. 2)Things are not problems but challenges. Just be cognizant of the language you are using and ensure it is advantageous to you and yours. This actually can be considered a brain exercise…
- Lifespan increased– Well, if you are not suffering from stress because you are practicing positivity and choosing your words carefully, then your lifespan will be increased, because as a general rule, stress is a killer. Of you. So a mindset change would be a positive step towards your well being. Honestly, they should ask that if applying for life insurance. Optimism has been proven to decrease health risks in multiple studies.
- Better relationships to be had-you would think this would be a no brainer, but it just ain’t so. Common sense just isn’t so common anymore. When you have even one optimist in a relationship, things will go better. Just like negativity can be contagious, so can optimism.
- More success!! In a study of MBA grads, those who graduated who had a better outlook about their future received more job offers than the others. How can you argue with that? These optimist graduates were also getting higher starting salaries AND promoted more frequently.
Moderation is Key
I must caution you that although optimism can be a good thing, everything-including optimism-is good in moderation.
There are those optimists who are so deeply ingrained in their own happy-go-lucky life that if there is just no realism in said life.
Plus there may humans close to those ‘false optimists’ who cannot even communicate with them because they are in denial of anything but good, great, better!!
Them rose colored glasses just ain’t coming off!!
To be frank, that is just not feasible unless you live in a bubble. Things are just gonna not be sunny all the time. There are just way too many cynics and pessimists around.
Plus you have to take responsibility for your own life and to do that you are going to have some valleys from time to time.
And how are you going to grow if you never have any drama in your life? You get to be a better human by experiencing conflict sprinkled with a bit of turmoil once in awhile.
False and Real
So false optimism is “Everything is going to be wonderful!! You just stand back and watch!”
Realistic optimism is “Ok, this is going to be a PITA (pain in the a**) to deal with, but if we all just buckle down and face it head on, we can prevail in this conundrum”
See the difference?
In some situations, wining is just not going to be feasible. In this case, acceptance will be the key to not ending up circling the drain of frustration and failure.
But you can still be optimistic. What have you learned?
I mean besides, don’t try to do it that way again…
Here is a true optimist…chances are that you were able to gather some new data about the situation which will help you prevail in the future. You just gotta look…
Was it Thomas Edison who said “I didn’t fail. I just found 200 ways NOT to do it.”?
So, anyways, I am thinking this was pretty darn educational. Do you agree? I would love to hear from you and your thoughts and please share to get some more people into this illustrious train of thought and mindset.