It can be challenging to be optimistic today.
If you watch the news you’re not going to see segments about random acts of kindness.
Well, I guess I shouldn’t assume that since I don’t watch the news.
But even though I can avoid the news at home it’s still difficult if you’re around other people that watch the news. Some seem like they want the world to come to an end.
The truth is that most things that happen to us aren’t life altering. The sun comes up tomorrow. It’s an opportunity.
And if you look at life as an opportunity and you’re optimistic about the future you stand to likely see some success. In fact, studies have found that being optimistic has a positive impact on your health. And if you’re what’s known as a “Realistic Optimist”, you’re going to happier and more successful.
What does that mean?
It means that if you approach life with optimism that you’ll be more resilient when times are difficult. And you’ll also have a realistic view of the present world. That allows you to work hard instead of falling too much to the side of optimism where you just sit back and wait for good things to happen.
So the benefits of being optimistic are there for us to see. The next challenge is how to become more optimistic in life and in business.
- Best Possible Self Thinking
- Get Outside
- Surround Yourself With Optimists
- Fake It
Tip #1. Best Possible Self Thinking
Have you ever thought about your best possible self?
There are a few ways to go about this, but a common one is to take a few minutes everyday to think about your best possible self in the future. Think about yourself in five years, ten years and even beyond.
It’s been found that this simple exercise is one of the most effective ways to become more optimistic.
It seems that successful people have often used this method even without realizing its impact. I’ve read a number of autobiographies of rock stars, businesspeople and more. One of the things almost always evident in successful people is their self belief. They envision a positive future for themselves all the time and eventually it seems that it becomes a self-fulling prophecy.
Tip #2. Gratitude
I love this study.
It was a journaling exercise with three groups of people.
The first was asked to write about things they were grateful for that had occurred in the previous week.
The second was asked to write about things that irked them in the previous week.
And the third was simply asked to write about things that affected them, no instruction on good or bad, in the previous week.
After a couple months it was found that the gratitude group was more optimistic about the future. They felt better about life in general. They even exercised more often and seemed to have better overall health than the other two groups.
So the takeaway here is that gratitude is a key for living optimistically and it also appears to be a key to a life well lived in general.
"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties".
— Gary Player (@garyplayer) December 13, 2016
Tip #3. Get Outside
Here’s another one that’s pretty good.
Exercise is something we know to be good for us. But there was an interesting study about exercising inside versus outside. And there was a wonderful finding that I don’t think was even expected.
Those in the study that exercised outdoors reported feeling more optimistic. There were other benefits as well, but since this post is focused on optimism we’ll stick with that benefit.
This doesn’t mean that you need to go for a run every day, but it is important to get outside as often as you can. Work in the yard and garden. Go for regular walks with your loved ones. Play outdoor games with your best friends. Sit in the park and watch the animals scurrying about and the people interacting with one another.
Tip #4. Surround Yourself With Optimists
A study found that those surrounding themselves with others that are happy are happier themselves and often report a better overall health and outlook on life.
This is probably the most obvious tip on the list. If you surround yourself with people that are negative then it’s going to become contagious. You’ll begin to take on their negativity yourself and that leads down a bad road. It’s no way to live.
It can be difficult to “breakup” with friends and family that you care about, but we’re only around for a short time in this world. You’ll have a much better time if you surround yourself with others that are happy and optimistic about the future.
There are 7 billion people. Many are happy. Find them and allow their happiness to transfer to your mind and body.
Tip #5. Fake It
There are a number of interesting studies on the idea of Fake It Till You Make It. I’ve read a few stories and interviews with successful people that acted like they were successful well before they were.
In fact, a number of rock stars and actors often acted like they were big time stars before it actually happened. They seemed to over confident in their abilities.
But you know what? It seems to work.
So if you want to be positive and optimistic about the future it really could happen by faking it. Act like an optimist would act. Do it over and over every day and eventually you’ll take on the personality.
Being optimistic has many benefits. Most of us want to be successful, feel loved and have good health. Optimism seems to be part of the equation for such a life. But it’s easy to feel negative about many things today. And that’s surprising because there is so much to feel optimistic about.
Hopefully the tips above can spark some feelings of optimism in your life – both personal and business. It’s a change you can really make for a better overall life.