Optimism

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“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Winston S. Churchill

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Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with many opportunities, especially in trying times.

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What is optimism and how it differs from pessimism? Essentially, optimism is the ability, and the tendency, to imagine a positive outcome.

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When we have an optimistic or hopeful outlook we weather present-time stress better. Even when our present reality is unpleasant, if we have the view that the future holds good things, this can buffer our present stress. A more pessimistic viewpoint would get mired down in the current difficulties and unpleasantness.

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Pessimists are sceptical that their own actions can effect any significant change. What is worse, they often don’t even recognise good fortune when it is right in front of them. They will not even bother trying to solve problems, because they have already decided it is not going to work out.

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When someone believes the future will be generally positive, they will persist, continue to re-evaluate their efforts, and keep working to solve problems. A pessimist would be more likely to give up altogether.

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Research shows that it is not what happens to you, specifically, but how you explain what happens that counts. If an optimist is wrestling with a new appliance that’s not cooperating, she’s likely to say, “Okay maybe the instruction manual is unclear or this model isn’t working properly or maybe I’m having an off day.” The optimist views the failure as being outside herself, and temporary (an off day). A pessimist would see this failure as being internal (it’s all my fault) and permanent. And would extend the feeling beyond this specific situation (this always happens to me.)

The key is to learn to define negative events as a) not your fault, and b) isolated occurrences that have no bearing on future events or other areas of your life. And then, to think of positive events as being  a) because of something you did,  b) a sign of more good things to come and c) evidence that good things will happen in other areas of your life. If you can do this, you are on the road to optimism.

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Work on being optimist today….you will be a happier, healthier you!

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“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
Nelson Mandela

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