Some people seem to be naturally more optimistic than others. No matter what Fate throws at them, they’re not defeated or angry. They don’t get bitter or even stay cast down for long. So, what is it about someone that means they don’t get crushed by adversity? It comes down to mindset. They have learned the secret of how to get ready for the future. Be optimistic.
Everyone has bad stuff happen in their life. It’s part of being human. But where some people feel overwhelmed by events, other stay relatively cheerful through bad times, even seriously bad times like being laid off or going through a divorce. These people are optimists.
Optimism means finding the best in every situation and expecting good things to happen regardless of what’s going on right now. Research shows that optimism can have a positive impact on all areas of your life, from strengthening the immune system to reducing your risk of anxiety and depression, even having a longer life!
What is Optimism?
- Don’t blame themselves when things go wrong
- Focus on the present and future, and don’t dwell on past hurts
- Expect good things to happen to them
- Believe they are responsible for their happiness
You might be thinking that optimism is innate: that you’re either an optimist or a pessimist. Jiminy Cricket or Eeyore. But optimism or pessimism stems from your self-talk, how you react to things, what you expect, and your self-image. The messages we received back in early childhood influence this. Were you told you were selfish or lazy or no good at math? The feedback that you got about yourself and the world (whether it is a safe or dangerous place) shape your expectations into adulthood.
And because these messages are not you, you can change them. You can reset your pessimistic mindset and become more optimistic by re framing your experiences. If something goes wrong, instead of dwelling on the failure and making it personal, try to be objective and analyze what happened. Did someone else make a decision that impacted on whether your project was successful or not? What did you learn from the experience?
Optimists don’t stay stuck in the past. If something doesn’t work out the way they thought it would, they move on, confident that success and abundance are just around the corner. Optimists are grateful for the good in their lives right now. They know that there is more than enough to go around, and they understand that the world is full of opportunities for everyone.
Always remember that what we focus on expands, and what we end up thinking about all day long is who we become, and also forms what we attract into our everyday living reality. Once we grasp this idea, we start to become very careful about the way we think, speak and act.
You have the power to change your mindset. If you have tended to look on the gloomy side or feel that life is unfair, and you feel powerless, think about optimism as another skill you can learn. Optimism is a skill of emotional intelligence, a learned habit, and it’s a skill you can start to develop right now. If you would like to go deeper with me on this subject… keep reading.
Visualization to Cultivate Optimism
What if I told you that you could be or have anything you desired? Would you believe it was possible? Visualization can be a powerful tool in building a positive mindset. Optimism is a state of mind, not an innate quality, and while some people are naturally more optimistic, you can cultivate a more positive mindset. Building optimism about the future can give you the energy and motivation to work towards that positive future and make it happen. And if you choose to, you can change a negative mindset to a positive one by using some simple psychological techniques to retrain your brain.
Research has shown that doing a simple visualization exercise can boost anyone’s optimism. You don’t need any special equipment or a visualization guru; you can do it all by yourself, anywhere, anytime. You don’t need to do anything special while you’re doing this exercise. You can sit, stand or lie down, wherever you feel the most comfortable. The important thing is to give it your full attention and focus.
Set aside some quiet time, at least 10 or 15 minutes where you won’t be interrupted or distracted. Turn off your tablet or smartphone and simply be in the present. Emails, social media and phone calls can wait.
Focus your attention inwardly and think of a point in time in the future, say ten years. How would you like your life to be? What would feel good to have achieved? Think of all aspects of your life: career, personal relationships, fitness, education, hobbies, health.
Imagine the best possible life for you. Imagine your best possible you.
Think of this most authentic you in as much detail as possible. Maybe you have gone back to college or grad school. Perhaps you are in great physical shape, or you’ve met the soulmate of your dreams.
Now, associate something from that fulfilled desire that would imply that whatever it is has already come to pass. Perhaps a friend saying how great you look losing all that weight, or another friend congratulating you on that promotion.
Next begin to feel in your imaginative state whatever those feelings would be in reality. Allow yourself to become immersed in these thoughts and feelings.
You may want to write down whatever comes into your head and try to be specific. Describe your home, your job, your partner. Don’t think of what seems likely but of what you would genuinely love. Don’t slump into feeling bad about the ways your present life is not like this imagined future or worry about how you can achieve this. Just sit and bask in the glow of visualizing this happy, fulfilled life.
You can use this exercise to work out what you want in life. Visualization can help you set goals and prioritize your life to achieve those goals. This technique helps you to turn your desire for a happy and fulfilling life into tangible, achievable reality.
Studies show that repeating visualizations like this one can increase your optimism and positive mood immediately. You can also adapt this visualization to focus on a particular goal, such as getting a promotion or learning a new skill. By seeing yourself achieving this goal, you will feel more confident and enabled. You will have the optimistic mindset that you can do anything you want!
True Optimism vs. Positive Thinking
There’s a big difference between being optimistic and thinking positively regardless of what’s going on around you. True optimism stays grounded and doesn’t ignore the facts. It doesn’t mean that you disregard or try to deny feelings of sadness, anger or grief.
To remain optimistic is to believe that no matter what is happening now, that’s not the end of it. You always believe that the future will be better. There will be times in our lives when things are difficult and look grim. But to stay optimistic means, there’s a way out, something to hang on to when times are tough.
Here are some strategies to help you stay optimistic, even in the worst of times.
Acknowledge the truth of your feelings
An optimistic person acknowledges their feelings whether it’s anger, frustration, disappointment or sadness, and they don’t stop there. Acknowledging your feelings allows you to feel them, process them, and move forward. The great news is that we also have the ability to change the feelings we feel.
Focus on what you have
If you’re feeling cynical and negative about the world, you’re apt to miss the small, positive things that surround you. Notice the good things in your life that you might usually take for granted. Your morning coffee, reliable power, and water supply, clean air, knowing you can get to school or the grocery store or to work safely. Being grateful for the life you lead now builds up a resilience credit to help you weather tough times when they come. Most importantly, notice that who you are is able to choose a mindset, a state of being, for every moment.
Stay away from bad news
Obsessively checking social media and news sites will keep your focus on the negative, competitive, complaining view of the world. It’s a lopsided view that thrives on generating dissatisfaction and despair. Of course, you should be aware of current events but make it a conscious choice to balance it with your mental health. Sometimes reading the headlines is enough. Walk away from the internet and focus on making a positive change in your own life. Keep Good Vibes flowing into your being.
Live an authentic life
Building optimism can help you to live the best life you can, being true to yourself and your values. Optimism means you choose to live in alignment with your desires and your best self. A deep-seated belief that you can live a good life and that there’s more than enough to go around is not putting a falsely positive gloss on reality. On the contrary, an optimist looks squarely at reality and works out how to make the best of it. Your imagination is your greatest gift, and most powerful ally. Make the most of it by living out your wishes and desires already fulfilled.
Steps to Train Your Brain to Think Optimistically
You can reset your mindset to think more optimistically. Scientists have found that negative or positive mindset is only about 25% inheritable. The rest is dependent on the environment, especially the atmosphere where you grew up. Not surprisingly, loving, supportive families are inclined to encourage optimistic children while tense, dysfunctional families create children with a pessimistic view of the world. But growing up in difficult circumstances doesn’t condemn you to be a lifelong pessimist. You can choose to develop optimism, and there are some good reasons to do just that.
Research shows that being optimistic pays off in better health, greater resilience to stress, more career success, and even longer life. And it’s not that hard to start building your optimism muscles right now.
Here are some simple strategies to help you train your brain to be more positive.
Work on your self-talk
Getting stuck in a rut of negative self-talk is easy. So many of our negative beliefs, especially self-beliefs, were laid down in early childhood. They have become part of the background, so much so that you might not even realize you’re doing it. Sit back think about how you talk to yourself. Do you beat yourself up when things go wrong? Do you think that deep down you’re lazy or stupid, or that things will get better once you lose some weight?
Turn your self-talk around and rewrite your negative script. Think about yourself and make a list of all the positives. If you find this difficult, ask some people you trust what they like about you. Chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised at all the positive things people see in you.
Focus on the future
Optimists have their eye on the future. No matter what the present circumstances, they expect that good things and more opportunities are just around the corner. They stay hopeful and positive that things will not just work out, they’ll be better. Optimists don’t stay stuck in the past or brood over what they might have done wrong or what people did to them.
Look for the good things
Train your brain to be on the lookout for the good things in your life, big or small. Being grateful for what you have now makes you more able to expect and receive good things in the future. Being grateful brings more positivity into your life and defuses dissatisfaction.
Want to Be Successful? Be Optimistic!
You may be surprised to hear that being optimistic has some tangible benefits for your career. In fact, researchers have found that optimism has a real impact on the success or failure of your business, your likelihood of promotion, and even your starting salary.
Why would optimism have such a strong effect on how successful you are? Here are some ways in which your mindset can aid or undermine your career:
Attitude and expectations
Optimists tend to have a can-do attitude and are undaunted by difficult or problematic circumstances. They are natural-born problem solvers who expect to be able to get things done. Studies have shown that optimists are inclined to be clear about their goals and that this clarity helps them to prioritize and strategize a way to achieve them. We term this attitude, that you can do certain things in the future and that you can make those desires real, ‘expectancy judgment.’
Optimism inspires confidence
A recent study by the US Securities and Exchange Commission looked at business investment and whether optimism of company leaders influenced bankers and other financial institutions. The study found that financiers were more likely to approve loan applications to optimistic and enthusiastic business people.
This ability to project confidence is why optimists also make inspiring leaders, successful salespeople, and entrepreneurs. They talk up their business or project and are full of ideas about how it’s going to work. Research has demonstrated that optimistic people routinely use positive language to describe situations, no matter how difficult. Problems are described as things that will resolve quickly, or as anomalous. Optimists are full of confidence that problems can be solved.
Optimists have a habit of radiating positive energy and are more productive than pessimists. They are full of ideas and plans, and they see opportunities everywhere. Optimists don’t dwell on past failures but are focused on the future. Being with optimists and being more optimistic yourself starts a virtuous circle of positive energy that lifts your whole team.
Psychology experts say that optimistic people are more likely to put extra effort into achieving their goals and that high optimism is a predictor of high effort and success.
Optimism also increases your resilience, so setbacks are not disasters, but opportunities to do something differently. A negative performance review is not crushing or confidence-sapping, but a chance to position yourself better for the future. People with an optimistic view are better able to deal with stressful situations and tend to stay focused, not to get overwhelmed by difficulties or changing demands
Now you have knowledge of how to get ready for the future. Be optimistic. Your present and future depend on the mindset of the moment. Allow these guidelines help prepare your path forward. Please be sure to leave any comments below.