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9 Signs That You’re An Optimist

9 Signs That You’re An Optimist

Martin E. P. Seligman, psychologist, educator and author, in his book Learned Optimism says: “One of the most significant findings in psychology in the last twenty years is that individuals can choose the way they think.” You can choose to think positively and see the good things around you, or you can choose to think negatively and only see the negative things around you. It’s all up to you.

It is advisable, however, that you think more positively. A positive outlook in life makes you happier, healthier and even wealthier in the long run. Of course, stuff happens and unrelenting optimism can sometimes be contrived and irresponsible. But being optimistic is not about unrelenting optimism; it’s about trusting that good will happen while also preparing for the worst.

Here are a few things optimists do differently you can emulate today to look on the brighter side of life.

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1. You count your blessings.

It all starts with counting your blessings. While others moan and groan, optimists take stock of the good things around them. It does not stop there; optimists also take inventory of what’s not so great. They are grateful for obstacles, hardships and even failures because these are anchor points for resilience and wisdom. Optimists know what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

2. You make the most of all opportunities.

Optimists believe in making optimal use of the opportunities life throws at them. They are not blind, in denial or naïve to the risks and dangers involved in taking chances, but rather look at the bigger picture, the resources available and then make every opportunity count for a much brighter future full of possibilities. Optimists are simply positive, visionary realists, not idealists.

3. You believe in yourself.

While others cower and doubt their own abilities, optimists believe they are good enough just the way they are and constantly strive to get better. They trust their own intuition and abilities when carrying out their day-to-day activities. Optimists simply won’t judge or criticize themselves against a set of arbitrary, unrealistic, third party beliefs and ideals, such as those from popular media or peers. They don’t need everyone’s approval; they just do what feels right in their hearts.

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4. You also believe in others.

Optimists not only believe in themselves, but also in other people in their lives. They inspire others to be the best they can be. They know that when you treat a person as he or she is, that person will remain so. But if you treat a person as he or she ought to be, that person will become what he or she ought be. Optimists simply see sparks of good in others — sparks that everyone else won’t see — and work to turn the sparks into a roaring flame.

5. You use positive self-talk to reinforce actions.

Optimists do not allow present circumstances or environment to dictate their attitude and mood. They use positive self-talk to express their hopes and to reinforce good attitudes, outcomes and actions. If things are not going too well, they say things like “I know there’s a problem here, but I can solve it” and keep going. When they succeed at something, they say things like “That’s just as I had anticipated; I worked hard and it paid off.” In a similar situation, a pessimist might say: “Boy, was I lucky to close that deal!”

6. You turn envy and jealousy into catalysts for success.

Everybody gets a little jealous sometimes. While others burn with envy, optimists realize that the universe does not owe them anything because someone else is successful and they are not. However, the universe might owe you something when you work hard to better yourself. Instead of burning with anger and jealousy, optimists use other people’s success as motivation to work hard and bring success.

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7. You don’t make bad experiences a self-fulfilling prophecy of what lies ahead.

Just because you failed or suffered today doesn’t mean you will fail or suffer tomorrow. Good things come to those who persist and overcome challenges. Optimists do not let past misfortunes determine their future success. They know that bad experiences make you stronger and the path to success clearer.

8. You choose not to blame others.

People tend to point fingers at others when things are not going well. They blame their family, politicians and even the economy for their problems. Optimists choose not to blame others because they know others don’t hold complete control over them. There is always something you can do to make things better. Change starts from within, and where there is a will there is always a way.

9. You forgive.

Optimists know better than to underestimate the power of forgiveness. Martin Luther King Jr. fought hate with love. He recognized the past is the past and forgiveness was the path to a better future for everyone. Optimists, therefore, forgive and forge ahead. They know tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to correct what needs correcting and create a brighter reality.

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Are you an optimist?

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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