Be an optimist and win!

October 30, 2008

OptimismRates of depression and pessimism have never been higher. Here is how to be an optimist and win!

If you’ve placed second in a writing contest, did you jump for joy and push for better results the next time or did you get discouraged and accept second place as an excuse not to try again?

The joy of life is it is always filled with exciting choices. You may opt to have a pessimist’s view and live a self-defeated life or you may decide to take the optimist’s route and take on a challenging and fulfilling life.

So, why nurture an optimist’s point of view? What is in it for you?

Well, Maria Duval says that optimism has been linked to positive mood and good morale; to academic, athletic, military, occupational and political success; to popularity; to good health and even to long life and freedom from stress.

On the other hand, the rates of depression and pessimism have never been higher. Depression and pessimism affect middle-aged adults the same way they hit younger people. The mean age of onset of depression and pessimism has gone from 30 years of age down to 15 years of age! Depression is no longer a middle-aged housewife’s disorder but also a teen-ager’s disorder as well which leads to overall pessimism about life.

Here is how optimists beat the odds:

1. Optimists expect the best

The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to expect bad events which will last a long time and undermine everything they do. They believe that bad events are their own fault.

Optimists are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world. What differs is the way they explain their misfortune—it’s the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case.

2. Optimists tend to focus on and plan for the ‘problem’ at hand

They use ‘positive reinterpretation.’ In other words, they most likely reinterpret a negative experience in a way that helps them learn and grow. Such people are unfazed by bad situation. They perceive it is a challenge and try harder.

They do not believe that “things will never get better,” “If I failed once, it will happen again” and “If I experience misfortune in one part of my life, then it will happen in my whole life.”

Positive expectancies of optimists also predict better reactions during transitions to new environments, sudden tragedies and unlikely turn of events. If they fall, they will get up. They see opportunities instead of obstacles.

3. People respond positively to optimists because optimists seem to have more enjoyment in life.

4. Optimists are proactive and less dependent on others for their happiness.

5. Optimists find no need to control or manipulate people. They usually draw people towards them. Their optimistic view of the world can be contagious and influence those they are with.

6. Optimism is a socially desirable trait in all communities. Those who share optimism are generally accepted while those who spread gloom, panic and hysteria are generally avoided except by other pessimists.

7. In life, optimists often win elections; get voted most congenial and are sought for advice.

8. When the going gets tough, optimists get tougher.

Optimists typically maintain higher levels of subjective well-being during times of stress than do people who are less optimistic. In contrast, pessimists are likely to react to stressful events by denying that they exist or by avoiding dealing with problems. Pessimists are more likely to quit trying when difficulties arise.

9. Optimists persevere. They just don’t give up easily, they are also known for their patience. Inching their way a step closer to that goal or elusive dream.

10. Optimists are healthier and live longer

Medical research has verified that simple pleasures and a positive outlook can cause a measurable increase in the body’s ability to fight disease.

Optimists’ health is unusually good. They age well and are much freer than most people from the usual physical ills of middle age. They tend to outlive those prone to negative thoughts.

Frederick Langbridge in “A Cluster of Quiet Thoughts” said: “Two men look out through the same bars: One sees the mud, and one sees the stars.” Which one of these are you going to be from now on?

Why not look forward to success in all your endeavors? Why not be resilient? Sure, you will continue to hit lows sometimes but why just stay there and wallow in them? Why not be an example to inspire others to remove their dark-colored glasses and see the stars and not the mud?

About the Author

Jim DeSantis is a retired TV News Anchor and News Director who created “Self Esteem Magic”, a guaranteed step-by-step approach to start raising your Self Esteem in one weekend. Change your life starting this weekend at “Self Esteem Magic“.

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