“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Nowadays, more and more people emphasize the importance of feeling good in their own skins, of being confident and of having a positive view over the future. It is said that optimistic people are happier, but also more successful. Is that really true—what does being optimistic mean and how can we switch our optimistic side on?
Let’s break it down to the details, shall we?
What is optimism?
During the ears of research, optimism has received many definitions. But, there are two components of the concept which have been stressed; emotion and goal setting.
Optimism is more than just a fleeting state of mind, more than just a general emotion or just a way of day dreaming about general, ideal situations we would like to be in.
Being optimistic implies multiple objectives, goals and desires—this is the difference between optimism and hope. Hope does not imply action, but being optimistic involves making a plan regarding attaining a specific scope and also being confident about it.
Optimistic people are confident in setting their goals, they know how to analyse their resources and are confident about using them in order to achieve their goals.
One of the main personalities researching about optimism is Martin Seligman. He described optimism as comprising positive expectations about future results, and the sense of agency. The last one is, to consistently do what you must do to follow your dreams and the willingness to put in the effort.
That is the path to success.
How does optimism work?
Optimism has been linked to positive mood, academic and professional success (including military, politics), to perseverence, to popularity and to a healthier life. Optimistic people have more achievements than pessimistic ones do: cancer patients have a lower mortality rate, patients undergoing surgery have a faster recovery and students face a smoother transition from highschool to university, and optimistic people whom have been through a divorce have a higher chance of getting remarried.
The vast majority of research papers tackle the subject of optimism in either clinical, or economical subject. Clinical research is quite a singular area, but the economical one is something of wide interest. We play economy by finding a job, by getting a bank loan, by becoming an entrepreneur, the simplest level of them all being the one in which we just plan our family’s finances.
Considering all this, how can being optimistic help us being economically fruitful? Research says that optimism is heavily involved in the decision-making process, and optimistic people do take better decision than the pessimistic ones. More optimistic people tend to work harder, have longer-term careers, adjust better in their workplace. Being confident in your skills leads to investing more effort in your organizational tasks and also work better in teams.
Research shows that self-employed people are more optimistic than the normallly employed ones and have higher risk tolerance; moreover, they work longer and are better prepared for retirement; of course, that will lead to a higher income which influences positively the rest of the elements, creating a cycle of feeling good while working, earning more and having a greater well-being. Moreover, optimists are more likely to own individual stocks than mutual ones.
Does optimism have a bad side?
Digging into the literature, we can find some negative parts regarding being overly optimistic. This idea can be found under the nomenclature of „managerial optimism”. In this regards, based on the fact that people are more optimistic about situations they believe they can control and about situations they are committed to, managers are overestimating the probability of good company performance and underestimating the probability of bad company performance. They are prone to over-evaluating the company’s investment opportunities and to cutting off external cash flow thinking that the cost is too high.
How can we be more optimistic?
To conclude this article, I want to share a few ways of becoming more confident. Firstly, the main thing we all have to be aware of is the fact that optimism is an element best shaped in the face of adversity. When you feel low, when you feel like the pressure is to much to take, that is when you struggle to see the light. That is when you have to start believing you have what it takes to get things done and make it out of the tunnel. Believing in yourself makes you push harder and get you so much closer to your goal.
Becoming an optimist means reshaping your perspective, changing your mind-set, trying to see the full half of a glass. It means, struggling to find a way out when all doors seem closed, being motivated and perseverent and perseverence can only be cultivated in front of difficult life situations. If everything was easy, if we never struggled—how could we ever grow?
I want you to remember this; you will never grow if you keep staying in your own comfort zone. You need to challenge yourself to unlock your potentials. Just know that you ARE truly a miracle, not simply an accident. Think about it, there is only one you in this world. Not to mention, the chance of being born is 1 in 400 Quadrillion, and that, my friend, it’s scientifically proven, even Buddhism seems to agree as well.
The last, but not least, optimism can also be cultivated through modelling. Just look at the others around you. What is their mental state when times get hard? What strategies do they apply in order to surpass difficulties?
Changing an entire mindset? I will tell you what, that is darn hard.
Trying to take off glasses one has been wearing for years might surely seem weird at first, but if you allow yourself to do so, you might just experience the world around you in different colors.
So, let’s make this step together and see where the road might take us. Remember, everything is a process, no need to rush.
Tell us down below how everything is going. If you encounter any hardships, write us and we will figure a way out together.