Optimism has been a shared trait amongst some of the most successful people in history. But what is optimism and more importantly, is it something that can be learned?
Definition of Optimism –noun
A disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
You can decide which attitude to have – who would you rather be? When an optimist is faced with bad news or a challenge, they react in a specific way. They:
- Don’t take it personally.
- Can see that there are external forces impacting the situation.
- View negative situations as minor obstacles that can be conquered.
But how do you not take it personally? How can you not blame yourself for the things that go wrong in your life? How can you not worry when things are going so well that the other shoe is bound to drop at any moment? If this is what you know and how you normally react, how can you change such a core behavior?
Everyone feels that way once in a while. You are not alone. The key is to turn it around and work the situation to your advantage before it gets out of control; before the fleeting thought turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here are 3 ways to become the optimist you have always wanted to be:
I. Decide What You Want. Most people focus on what they don’t want or the obstacles in their way. Instead, keep your eye on the prize and focused on how you would like the situation to turn out.
II. Ask, “What If?” Optimism is a habit and may be new for you. With that, it may be challenging to reassure yourself that you can achieve your goal or have a situation work in your favor. So instead, do an experiment. Ask yourself, “What If?” Here are some examples:
- What if I get this job? Wouldn’t that be great?
- What if this situation works out perfectly for me? That would be would be awesome.
- What if I can find the solution to this problem?
Asking a question works because it leaves your mind open to look for potential solutions and opportunities that it might have been closed to otherwise. It also alleviates the pressure of having to “fake it.” You are merely asking “What if?”
III. Gratitude. Being thankful for the great things that are already in your life may be hard to do, particularly if you’re going through a difficult time. However, by counting your blessings you are focusing on the good and relining yourself with solutions and the potential reality that “this is merely just a bump in the road.”
Are you an optimistic person? Did you have to train yourself to be? What steps did you take? We would love to hear from you!