“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
One of the most common questions people ask me via email is how to become more of an optimist.
So this week I'd simply like to share three habits that can help you to get started with that. I use these myself just about every day to stay optimistic in pretty much any situation.
It may sometimes take a while before I find an optimistic thread of thought but these three habits usually help me to do it.
1. Ask yourself questions that let you see the optimistic viewpoint.
When I’m in what seems like a negative situation my most common way of making something better out of that is to ask myself questions that promote optimism and helps me to find solutions.
- What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
- What is one thing I can learn from this situation?
- What is one opportunity within this situation?
These questions are not something that I can always use right away. Sometimes I need some time to process and accept the feelings and thoughts that arise.
But after a bit of time, when those thoughts and feelings have mostly passed, I ask myself one or more of these questions.
2. Get optimistic support from the world around you.
One of the most important factors if you want to be able to stay optimistic are the influences around you. Optimism is – just like enthusiasm – contagious.
So find ways to create an environment that supports you.
- The people in your life. Try to spend more time with optimistic people and less time with people who seem to always be negative about things. Positive people will support you, add upbeat energy and can help you to find a constructive change in perspective when you have a situation that is bringing you down and when you are just making a mountain out of a molehill.
- The information you let into your mind. One of the simplest things you can do to create and support your own optimism is simply to regularly read blogs and books and listen to or watch recordings created by optimistic people.
3. Start your day in an optimism creating way.
The way you start your day often sets the tone for the rest of it.
A stress-free morning leads to less stress and better focus during your day.
A work out early in your day leads to more energy throughout the day.
And optimism while you are eating your cereal or traveling to work or school can help you to stay positive and constructive as you go through the ups and downs of your day.
Three practical ways to get this good start is to:
- Read or watch something optimistic or funny for 10-20 minutes during your morning.
- Have an uplifting conversation over breakfast or early in your day.
- Listen to a motivating audiobook or podcast as you ride the bus, your bicycle or while you're walking somewhere.