The kids were served chocolate milkshakes. One of the kids was so happy and excited to drink his half-full glass of chocolatey goodness; the other kid had a frown and no gratitude, as he asked why it was already half-empty.
Our perspective on the world impacts our moods, gratefulness, and our overall perception of life. We can choose to be optimistic, which is arguably much happier and less stressful than pessimism. Those people who opt to be pessimistic are more negative, difficult to please, and they expect the worst. This type of attitude not only hurts the individual, it impacts those around them.
Humans don’t like to be wrong. We dislike it so much that some of us sub-consciously do things to prove we are correct even when it goes against the best outcome. Some people refer to something called the law of attraction and believe if you think about being rich then it will happen. The truth is, if you think about being rich and optimistically believe you can achieve it, then you are more likely to strive harder in your career or business ventures. Just as if you think that no one will stay in a relationship with you, you are more likely to engage in negative behaviors that will cause stress and hardships in your relationships.
Pessimists are setting themselves up for failure. Optimists are not only going to have a more positive personality, they are more likely to go after their goals and take risks to achieve them.
Anxiety is fear of the unknown, often correlated with a feeling that the worst-case scenario will play out. For example, someone waiting on their test results may start to think they failed or performed poorly because it is taking so long for their results to come in. They start to think of the worst-case outcome and let this overtake their thought patterns. While some anxiety can be healthy and push us to work harder, a pessimistic attitude increases the chance of developing anxiety disorders.
Spirituality as a Tool of Optimism
Your spirituality/faith should impact how you perceive the world. If we accept the idea that everything has a purpose, then whether negative or positive outcomes, we can hold onto an optimistic outlook. It is not what happens to us that matters the absolute most, it is how we react to those events. If you thank God and feel gratitude for all that enters your life, then the glass is inevitably half-full.
5-Minute Exercise to Increase Optimism
You don’t need to drastically change your life to increase your optimism. Investing five minutes on yourself can go a long way.
Think about your current goals. Put your short-term goals on a planner such as Google Calendar or use a notepad if you prefer pen and paper. Decide what your daily goal is and tell yourself you can achieve this. At the end of the day, set a timer for one minute, take in a deep slow breath and let it out while smiling. Maintain that smile while thinking about the goal you accomplished today. Use that one minute to reward yourself emotionally and acknowledge your success.
That is it! Set goals, reflect on the completion of the goal, rinse and repeat. This easy and quick exercise will increase your positive feelings, sense of accomplishment, and overall optimism if you stick to it. Think of it as mental training to make you believe you can and you do accomplish your goals.
As you increase your sense of self-accomplishment and success, it will impact other things in your life increasing your optimism.
• Set daily goals
• Put those goals into a planner
• Take one minute to smile and congratulate yourself on completing those goals at the end of the day
An optimistic outlook will increase your chances of success and embolden you with more hope. Even when you fall, remember that you only fail if you refuse to get back up and try again. Optimism is not about ignoring the possibility for negative outcomes, it is about doing your best to achieve a positive result with healthy confidence that you can do it.