Exercising Optimism

EQ Durban, EQ South Africa
Written by: Avril Kidd
Category: Habits | Life Skills
Exercising Optimism is about taking a proactive perspective of hope and possibility. This learned way of thinking and feeling gives you ownership of your decisions and outcomes. We all use both optimistic and pessimistic styles of feeling and thinking. However some tend to use one more often than the other.

By employing a habit of optimism, we take ownership for ourselves and create more personal options, are creative in finding solutions to ‘unsolvable’ problems and, as a result, are healthier, have stronger relationships, are more successful and resilient. 

 An optimistic outlook increases the pool of choices and the opportunity for success whilst a more pessimistic approach leads to a surrendering of power and to a more victim mentality. Exercising Optimism provides a solution-oriented approach, helps you innovate, and allows you to engage others’ positive energy. Optimism helps you see beyond the present and take ownership of the future.

Here’s an example …

If you have a disagreement with a coworker, a perspective of optimism can be a game changer. Instead of being judgmental of your coworker and thinking thoughts like, ‘they are wrong’ or ‘they are so selfish so there is nothing I can do to change the situation’, you have a choice in how you view the situation and how you think, feel and act in that moment. You can view this disagreement as an isolated incident, look at it from various points of view and decide how best to handle it. 

We always have a choice in how we view situations or people and how we can respond when faced with them. So often we allow an isolated incident to become pervasive and as a result it escalates to something much bigger and worse.

Exercising optimism helps you take ownership of your reactions and helps you ‘choose yourself’ better.  Optimistic people are generally happier, they bounce back quicker and they roll with the punches.

What do optimistic people do differently?

 Here are 3 Habits of Extremely Optimistic People.

Habit #1
Optimistic people know that trauma does not last forever. It is a temporary thing. They remind themselves that ‘This too shall pass.’

 Habit #2
Optimists accept that heartbreak or failure does not consist our entire lives and doesn’t have to impact every part of our lives. They place emphasis on other, more currently successful parts of their lives.

Habit #3
Positive thinkers appreciate that we can create our own changes, create a new reality for ourselves. They seek out opportunities to effect those changes and remind themselves that they have the power; the effort they put in will make a difference in the outcome.

I am sure if we all try we can start applying these 3 habits to make us more optimistic. This ultimately means seeing the adverse situation that we find ourselves in as a Temporary one, Isolated and not impacting all areas of our lives and usually if we add Effort are we able to create a desirable change. Try to actively move in the direction of optimism by stopping yourself when you notice you’re heading into a pessimistic spiral, and move instead in the direction of optimism. Try this TIE Principle the next time you are faced with a difficult situation. It is a simple method that can really change your life.

Try counting more blessings. What makes some people keep going after reported setbacks is the ability to look at a situation and see the good that comes out of it. Focus on what you do have and the many blessings you have on a daily basis. This will ultimately help you generate a much needed ‘attitude of gratitude’.

Winston Churchill put it very nicely when he said, “The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity.” We should therefore remember that in any situation we are facing there are always more options which therefore create more possibilities.

Next time you find yourself in a pessimistic spiral – stop, pause and look to find the hope and possibility that surrounds you.