I wholeheartedly believe in the GOODNESS of people.
In fact, my personal and business decisions are grounded on this very premise.
In other words, I CHOOSE to play out my life on OFFENSE, ready to score points, instead of defense where the best I can hope for is the PREVENTION of others scoring on me and the once in a blue moon defensive interception that results in a touchdown.
When I hear people criticize optimism as a viable mode of operating and responding to the every day obstacles of life, they use words like “head in the clouds” or “refusal to see reality.”
But here’s what the nay sayers aren’t understanding…
By choosing optimism, I am not negating the existence of negativity.
I stand in FULL RECOGNITION that there are a million bad things that may and can happen if I don’t create walls and barriers and spend my time and energy catching the lone wolf trying to take advantage of me.
I know the big bad wolf is in the forest.
I simply don’t focus on the wolf.
Let me put it to you this way…
which farmer is happier and more successful…
a. the one spending time, money, and effort fertilizing his garden or
b. the one pulling weeds all day?
Which has a bigger harvest at the end of the season?
The answer is crystal clear.
The farmer on offense… not the one on defense in a pile of weeds.
So if you find yourself in a pessimistic rut, a few suggestions on how to RETRAIN your brain to stop looking for the wolf, to stop picking weeds all damn day, to focus on the goodness that is in this world instead of what is lacking.
- BE AWARE OF YOUR EMOTIONS – Seriously though… take a day, hell even an hour and give all the emotions you feel a name. Do you find yourself using words like joy, challenged, interest, gratitude or more often than not are you miserable, stressed, bored, thankless. That’s on you. That’s your lense. That’s your focus. You are responsible for your perspective so use your POWER and create a new filter.
With that said, there are some professions that require us to catch mistakes constantly. Accountants and lawyers are prime examples. I point this out so that we stay mindful that some of us have to guard ourselves extra carefully so that we don’t bring our work perspective into our personal life. You cannot enter into your personal relationships and home life constantly looking for flaws and mistakes!
- LIFT OTHERS UP – Yup… give yourself the “silly” little task of complimenting 3 random people every day. As ridiculous as this might sounds, this little exercise MAKES you focus on seeing the positive side of people. And seriously… it takes 3 seconds, it makes someone else’s day better, and it costs you NOTHING. What the hell are you waiting for? Go out and be ridiculously kind. Feed your soul!!!
- And finally, ASK YOURSELF THESE 3 QUESTIONS when things aren’t going your way:
- Is this forever?
- Is this normal?
- Is this personal?
Positive psychology tells us that those who learn to answer these questions recognizing that what’s not going right is likely TEMPORARY, UNCOMMON, and EXTERNAL and are better equipped to bounce back and conquer.
In other words if you have trained yourself to interpret struggle as catastrophic, you’re going to have a helluva time turning things around. The strongest are those who can take the negative and deflate it’s importance by seeing it as a brief and remote annoyance.
There is no doubt that optimism is a conscious choice and a daily practice.
You will have your good days, as well as, your bad ones. But, as you become more aware of the emotions you entertain daily, the vocabulary you use to describe others, and the headspace by which you tackle conflict… Optimism becomes second nature.
Holy smokes… and the freedom of that is worth every effort you make to get yourself there.
The friends you make and opportunities created on offense far out weigh anything you were guarding against from the big bad wolf.
Water your garden.
Big fat middle finger to the weeds.
Optimism is RAD!!!