Being an optimist is contagious and comes along with many other benefits those around you can take advantage of. Science tells us that optimists tend to live longer, smaller propensity to be depressed, less likely to give up (in general) and earn more money and show far greater loyalty. Now, I won't get into all of the details in this post but hopefully by the end of this post you will have a couple of tools you can put to use. You my even realize, just as I did, you're truly an optimist at the core but you don't quite know how to tap into that inner strength.
The very moment I met my wife, I knew there was something incredibly special about her. Yes, she was and remains the most gorgeous & special women I have ever met but the "something special" I am talking about was not tangible. "It" was a feeling and an ora gleaming off every ounce of her being. That contagious, intoxicating feeling was positivity and overwhelming optimism. Man, talk about reevaluating what's important in life....especially for a recovering pessimist. We all have our moments but I would like to say I am a "realist" with a strong focus on being optimistic. I think my wife would agree, we have the right amount of balance between the two of us now.
It took me a long while of being a pessimist before understanding that optimism is not only good more me but, more importantly, for those around me. By believing and practicing optimism, those around me can begin to see the glass as partially full, instead of mostly empty.
By definition, sure, most of us know what optimism is but putting it into practice isn't something a lot of us are familiar with. A quick Google search of the word "Optimist" returns: "a person who tends to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something", not hard to comprehend but, much harder to put into practice.
Today is your lucky day! I am going to share with you 5 things I have learned from the most important people in my life.
1. Get Real - Realistic
One of the largest adjustments I had to make was a shift in mind-set. Everything we do has outcomes we perceive to be positive and negative. In a lot of cases, neither is better than another (in hind-sight, of course) - perspective will make a world of difference about what is negative and positive (think politics). This will keep outcomes in check and limit emotional reactions from bring blown out of proportion. Acceptance of negative outcomes and/or failures up front, even before they happen, will set you free. This is just "reality" - "shit happens".
2. Adversity Only Makes you Stronger
Being a pessimist often feels like the world is pitted against you - there is no winning - many will give up. We have all experienced this feeling optimist or not. The difference is acknowledging the challenge, learning from it, and moving forward even in the most difficult times. These life challenges are opportunities to overcome adversity, making you stronger, only further proving to yourself there is little value in giving up.
3. Be Thankful
There is A LOT to be thankful for in each of our lives - it could be the roof over your head, your family or even your job. Making it a routine to revisit those things in your life that you are thankful for will help cement the power of optimism. Life if precious, life is fragile, treat it the way. We are far from perfect at paying thanks to all the things we are thankful for but can get better, I have found journaling and blogging helps immensely and it is something you can go back to and see how far you have come.
4. Embrace the Power of Love
Growing up, "love" was always difficult to understand as it seems to take no specific form. As we get older, we realize that is the best part about love. We don't only receive love but, more importantly, you have the ability to give love to others and even the world. It comes in endless forms. Optimism in this sense, to me, means focusing less on what you receive and more on what you give to those around you. Love is immaterial, timeless and powerful. If we all embrace all that love has to offer, we will change the world - that is a fact.
5. Reminders for Inspiring Optimism
Our minds are incredibly powerful, making it that much more important to remind ourselves we are in control. Planning for the worst to happen, you are bound to have the worst happen (thanks, Elizabeth!). We always have a choice - fight or flight - you remember learning about this in science class, I do! Give yourself a couple of reminders to help shed the negative and embrace the positive. Hang them up around your house and/or in the office. Find inspiration that works for you.
"Nothing is impossible."
"I will always strive to be the best person I can be."
"I realize this is a difficult time but it is happening for a reason and I will come out the other side a stronger person."
"Instead of viewing the glass as half-empty, I will always view the glass as half full."
Have the courage to face your fears. Be Optimistic and love deeply.