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How You Can Become An Optimist Easily

How You Can Become An Optimist Easily

Why all this talk about how you can become an optimist easily?  The answer is that optimism is one of the essential ingredients that makes you successful. That is what Jeffrey Garten, Dean of the Yale School of Management found when he interviewed the top most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Yes, all 40 of these CEOs were optimistic.

As if this was not enough, optimism is the gateway to better health and a more active, rewarding social life. Being an optimist means that you are less likely to get a heart attack or cancer. This research was carried out at The University of Pennsylvania.

Before beginning, take the optimism test which has been devised by the BBC Horizon TV program.

How did you do? If you got full marks, there is no need to read on! If you got a low score, stay on this page because I am going to give you 12 useful tips on how to become optimistic.

1.Don’t let past failures stalk you

In many ways, you can be a prisoner of your past as you keep on carrying past failures with you, like heavy luggage. Convince yourself that these failures are a closed book and that you need to throw out this unwanted trash. Not that the lessons learned from failures should be forgotten!

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Look at Oprah Winfrey. She was told she was not suitable for television. Thomas Edison had to cope with 6,000 failures before succeeding in making the first electric light bulb.

2. Time for stock-taking

First, think of all the positive things in your life. Note them down on a list. Then in a second column write the obstacles, problems and failures. This second list is essential as you can note with asterisks what was the lesson learned from each of those debacles. You are now coming round to the idea that failure is part and parcel of life. But you need to be upbeat and confident. Onwards and upwards.

“No matter where you are on your journey, that’s exactly where you need to be. The next road is always up” – Oprah Winfrey

3. Think positively

When you look at the list again, you notice that the list of positive things will be longer. There are so many things to be grateful for. Many potential failures became successes. Look at your achievements again. Think about your positive character traits.

4. Optimism empowers you

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier”- General Hillier

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General Hillier was well known for advocating how important it was to remain optimistic when soldiers faced terrible dangers in Afghanistan. He told his staff that it was their duty to display optimism and communicate that to their soldiers. This is the path to success. In addition, optimism costs nothing!

5. Try smiling

“Smile, it’s free therapy” – Douglas Horton

Try scowling at people and you get nowhere! Try smiling and see what happens. You will most probably get a smile in return. Smiling brings loads of benefits. Study after study shows that it can help you live longer, cut stress and even boost your competence. Your popularity will rocket. It will also help you to remain cheerful. Zero cost!

6. Limit your exposure to bad news

We are surrounded by negative news, 24/7. Turn on the TV, computer or smartphone and there is a deluge of tragedy, extreme weather, death, destruction, crime and injustice. If you watch or absorb too much, it will drown your positive thoughts.  Pessimism will start taking a hold.

7. Give yourself a present

Think of an achievement you have had at work or in a personal relationship. Celebrate your success by praising yourself. But this is just not for successful achievements. If you can apply this to how you have cleverly analyzed a screw up, then you really are on a winning streak. If you find yourself saying: – ‘OK, I screwed up but I now know why- it was because I forgot to do X, was misled by Y and was careless about Z’. Now that really deserves a prize because you are poised for success the next time round.

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8. Build on your success

The next time you face a challenge, list your achievements to date. Each success is a milestone along the path of life. Just by keeping this in mind, you can remain optimistic. It also helps your self-esteem.

9.Think big

If you are an optimist, going for gold is no problem. You just have to watch out for the cynics and the pessimists along the way. There is nothing to be ashamed of in aiming for the stars.

“Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it– Daniel Dennett

10. Put negative events into perspective

Inevitably, things go wrong sometimes. This is a fluke and not likely to be a regular occurrence. It is a one-off!

11.Use the power of language

If you have to lead a team or even manage a personal relationship, it is vital to be able to use conversations as vehicles in which you can inspire and motivate people to embrace optimism. There is no substitute for a real live conversation.

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12.  Focus on the solutions

You meet pessimists every day at work. They are the ones who complain and start telling you about all the obstacles, problems and difficulties. If you are an optimist, you will be able to use upbeat language and start to find a solution. Once your brain is wired into thinking about solutions, answers and success, you will be much more optimistic.

Before you get up every morning, think about why today is going to be a great day. Say to yourself: ‘Today is the day I am going to achieve X, Y and Z’. It is a great way to start the day and you will never look back.

 “No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” – Helen Keller

Featured photo credit: Thumb up from Laura/ Active Steve via Flickr

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 17, 2018

Why You Think You’re Not Good Enough and How To Believe in Yourself

Why You Think You’re Not Good Enough and How To Believe in Yourself

Have you ever wanted to say something at work, but a little voice of doubt crept in and said, “what if you are wrong”?

Maybe you wanted to apply for that promotion or ask that special someone on a date, but something kept you from taking action. When you think you’re not good enough, you tend to fear the outcome and lack faith in your abilities. That is why it is vital you discover how to believe in yourself so you can accomplish your goals and create your dream life.

Whatever your situation, the fears and self-doubt your false beliefs create will always stop you in your tracks. Identifying the beliefs that cause you to sabotage your life is the first step to removing them.

Self-doubt causes inaction, and inaction leads to regret. When you are not following your passion and living your dream life, you are left with a lot of questions:

  • What if I took a chance on myself?
  • Could I have had a better life if I took more risks?
  • Am I be satisfied with the legacy I am leaving behind?
  • What could I have accomplished if I did not settle for less?

So why would you think you’re not good enough?

1. Parenting

The perception you have of yourself is based on your past experiences. There are studies that show children mimic everything from their parents ability to regulate emotions, to their parents belief about money.[1]

I have had clients who did not believe they were good enough because they did not receive any positive reinforcement as a child. When they were young, their parents were extremely overprotective.

Think of your childhood challenges like dragons you had to slay. Each obstacle you overcame was another dragon you successfully removed from your life. As you slay more dragons, your self-esteem and confidence increase. When someone has overprotective parents, their parents end up slaying the dragons.

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As a result, the child builds more confidence in their parent’s abilities, while still doubting their own.

If you are never encouraged to slay your own dragons, you start to doubt whether you can. It is only natural for a child to conclude their parents are always helping them because they think they need it. This child ages into an adult who still believes they are not good enough. They seek the help and confirmation of others, and they rarely stand-up to opposition.

Solution: Slay Your Dragons!

If you want to believe in yourself, you are going to have to take steps to rebuild your trust in yourself. Start by keeping your word to others and arriving on-time. By showing yourself that others can (and do) trust you, you are going to feel more comfortable trusting yourself.

As you move onto larger and more challenging tasks, you have built a foundation of trust in your ability to keep your word. Next, you are going to want to reclaim your sword from others. At first, you may want to confide in whoever it is currently slaying your dragons.

Understand if it is your parent or someone who loves you, they want the best for you and mean well. You are simply going to tell them that you want to do the work, and will ask them for their thoughts in the planning phase. Feel free to check in with them and give them updates on your progress, while making sure they understand you are wanting to do the work yourself.

Then when the task is completed, let them know so you can celebrate together. Now that you have slayed your own dragon, you can start to reclaim your confidence. By you utilizing them as your guide, you get the added bonus of someone you respect and admire, telling you how amazing you are.

Think of it like a symbolic passing of the torch. Now, you are both dragon slayers. Which means all the positive attributes you attributed to them slaying your dragons, now belong to you.

2. Over-Exaggerating and Oversimplifying

Your past experiences may involve you or someone close to you failing. When you experience failure, you can lose your desire to continue. This has less to do with whether you are brave or scared, and more to do with the fact that your mind does not like failure.

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No one enjoys participating in events in which they under-perform. Outside of the usual reasons of embarrassment, feelings of inadequacy, and fear of failure – it is simply not fun.

Who wants to play baseball if they strikeout every time it is their turn? Would you enjoy singing in front of an audience if you were booed off the stage every time you performed? I could go on, but I think you get the point.

The thing about those two examples is no one really strikes out “every” at-bat. It is also unlikely someone could be booed off the stage “every time” they performed in-front of an audience.

What ends up happening is you oversimplify and exaggerate your past experiences and then your mind believes you. If you believe you are not good enough to ask someone on a date because they “always” tell you no, then do not be surprised you never muster the courage to do so.

If you want to overcome these feelings of inadequacy, start by changing your beliefs. This exercise does not need to be complicated. If you believe you strikeout every time it is your turn, I want to you to go to a batting cage and keep swinging until you hit the baseball.

When you experience success, I want you to take a mental note, write it down, or have someone video it. This is your proof that you do not always strike out. Then, whenever your belief that you are not good enough resurfaces, you are going to replay that video.

Regardless of the situation, you can find a successful experience that you are overlooking.

Solution: Read About the Failures of Others

It sounds a little crazy, I know, but reading about the failures of other successful people will improve your confidence. In a study conducted by Columbia University, they found that teaching students about the failures of great scientists encouraged them to do better.[2]

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When you are battling fear and self-doubt, you tend to over-exaggerate the abilities of others and diminish your own by comparison. You start to believe the successful are successful because they are courageous risk-takers, who do not take no for an answer. You tell yourself, they are meant to succeed, while you on the other hand are not.

When you are able to relate to the successful, you start to realize they have the same struggles and challenges you do. The only difference is they kept going.

Now it is not a question of whether you can succeed, it is a question of whether you want to succeed.

3. Undervalue Yourself

What is the main difference between someone who believes they are good enough and someone who does not? The person who believes they are good enough understands they are a person of value.

What I mean by this is if you do not believe you are worth being listened to, you will not have anything to say. If you do not believe you are good enough to be respected and treated as such, you will accept and rationalize all kinds of mistreatment.

There is an old saying that we are treated as we allow ourselves to be treated. When someone has the confidence and self-esteem that commands respect, they will not accept being treated any kind of way. However, if someone does not see themselves as worthy, they will remain in toxic situations because they do not believe anything better is on the horizon.

Dr. Jennifer Crocker, who worked on a series of self-esteem studies, found in her latest research that:[3]

“College students who based their self-worth on external sources–including appearance, approval from others and even their academic performance–reported more stress, anger, academic problems, relationship conflicts, and had higher levels of drug and alcohol use and symptoms of eating disorders”

Solution: Internalize Your Self-Worth

Instead of valuing yourself based on the awards, recognition, and accolades of others, you need to search internally. By basing your perception of yourself on your core values, you can regain control over self-image.

Instead of focusing on things that are outside of control, keep your mind on what it is that makes you special. You are not defined by your job, relationships, religion, or education. Rather, you are defined by the manner in which you participate in these things. You may be a creative, hard-working, and compassionate person; and that shows up in every thing you do.

Understand that you do not need to be creative, hard-working, and compassionate all the time to consider yourself these things. You are not trying to be perfect, but you are trying to connect with your true self.

By understanding the similarities in which you tackle objectives, you will build a consistent and powerful self-worth that stands apart from external confirmation.

Final Thoughts

Do not allow your past experiences do dictate your future success. You do not want to look back on your life and have a lot of questions and regrets.

Build trust in yourself by taking action today. This will help you build the confidence you need to believe in yourself and your ability to become the champion of your life.

More Inspiration About Motivation

Featured photo credit: Riccardo Mion via unsplash.com

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