There are also people who are somewhere in the middle.
“I understand the concept of optimism,” said Tom Hanks, the actor who has portrayed characters like the wide-eyed optimist, Forrest Gump, and the scientific cynic of Dan Brown’s novels. “I think with me, what you get is a lack of cynicism.”
My take on optimism is more like author and artist Mary Engelbreit: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
I’ve had occasions in my life when my knee-jerk reaction was to see the pessimistic side of a situation, but I learned optimism.
Yes, you can learn it—if you want to.
Why would you want to gain hope that hopeless situations will turn around? Why would you choose to wear the rose-colored glasses when they color your view?
Positive thought breeds positive outcomes, and the reverse is true. Which would you rather cultivate?
Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Belief is powerful. Believe you can achieve success, and you’ve overcome a major hurdle. However, when you believe it’s too far beyond your reach, you create those obstacles. I’d rather invest my time in seeing past the hurdles, believing that I can soar over them. When I can’t, I accept it’s only a momentary delay—a challenge to become more agile or stronger, or to learn some other valuable lesson.
Maybe you’re mired in a pessimistic mindset right now. This is the perfect time for learning optimism.
Here are some lessons for you:
- For every obstacle, find a positive purpose. Thomas Edison needed 10,000 tries to invent the light bulb. He considered each one as a lesson in what didn’t When you find yourself in a difficult, frustrating, or potentially back-pedaling situation, find a positive message. No matter how hard it is, the lesson is there if you choose to look for it.
- Be grateful. Don’t focus on what you’re lacking in your life. Be thankful for the rewards. It could be family, health, friendships, or having a secure job or even a roof over your head. There are millions of people in the world who have it tougher than you. Acknowledge your personal “wealth”.
- Don’t compete. Your happiness or sadness should not be dictated by the actions or possessions of others. Don’t measure yourself by other people’s successes. That leads to envy and resentment, which are toxic emotions. Be happy for their achievements, and channel your energy into your self-esteem and self-worth.
- Applaud small successes. The big win happens once in awhile. Don’t wait to celebrate your major achievements. Think about what you did today that was positive. Maybe you had a conversation with the cashier at your grocery store and made that person smile. Perhaps you completed something on your “To Do” list that has been nagging you for a long time. Whatever it is, find something every day to feel good about.
- I had a friend who worked in radio and she told me that the trick to pumping energy into her voice was to smile when she spoke. A smile is a powerful thing. Smile at a stranger—even if they don’t smile back, you’ll feel good.
Believe in the power of optimism. Call yourself an optimist. Fill your glass halfway and look at it. Remember, you can only see the liquid, but air fills the rest of the glass. The things you can’t see will often be the fillers in your life. Look for them. And raise your glass to the possibility of positivity.
Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant. For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.