Being an optimist is a practice. In this day and age it seems to take A LOT of practice. But optimistic people aren't just walking around whistling and smelling every rose. Optimistic people work on generating well being for themselves and for the people around them. It takes practice to look on the bright side rather than getting stuck in the muck of every bad situation. It's a practice and it's a choice.
Think about this; every morning when you wake up you have a choice. You either open your eyes and see a new day filled with fresh opportunities, possibilities and connections or you open your eyes and start thinking about all the things you need to muscle through to get to the other side. It's a choice...optimists choose the positive outlook. Granted, there are some people who are born optimists, but it still takes practice. Being optimistic has more to do with that practice and outlook than on any inherent trait.
Now, being an optimist doesn't mean you have to see everything through rose colored glasses and it definitely doesn't mean you're leading a charmed life. It's just that optimists are more reflective. It also doesn't mean optimists are uninformed, it just means they focus on the positive as much as possible.
Faced with the daily ups and down of life, it's easier to be a pessimist. It's impossible to go through life avoiding pain, suffering, mistakes, and disappointments. The difference is, a pessimist will take those things and amplify them, carrying them into the next day, week, month, or building a chip o their shoulders they carry through a lifetime. Pessimists will complain and use the negative things in life as an excuse for their inaction and conformity to the same old negative routine. Optimists take those challenges and see them as lessons, as opportunities to learn, grow, and even teach. So, let's make that habit number 1.
HABIT 1: Seeing Opportunities where others see failure.
Winston Churchill said "Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm". Optimists don't focus so much on the failure, they focus on the lesson. Of course, some lessons cut deep, but it's about picking yourself up and moving forward. Lessons learned, mistakes corrected, and new ideas are the things success are built from. The truth is that failure only occurs when you stop trying.
Habit 2: Optimists are Grateful:
It's easy to be grateful for the big things in life, optimists are grateful for the little things as well. Pessimists go through life focused on what's missing, sitting back green with envy about the things others have and they don't. Optimists however focus on what they have and look at everything as a gift. True optimists wake up each day and see the day is a gift that wasn't promised.
Habit 3: Optimists are Filled with Acceptance:
Optimists can define themselves by the serenity prayer:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Sure, we'd all love everyone to drive the way we want them to, we all want people to act the way we want them to, and we all want every day to be bright and sunny, but life doesn't work that way. We have to accept that good comes from bad, happy comes from sad, and the light is only noticed because of the darkness. At the root of it all optimists are more accepting of themselves and understand everyone has their struggles.
Habit 4: Optimists are Motivated to Grow:
Complacency is the enemy of optimism. Optimists are constantly looking for better ways, new directions, and fresh opportunities. Optimists set themselves in motion rather than waiting for the wave to come in. Most importantly, when it comes to motivated optimists, they are motivated from the inside...driven by their own desire to keep moving forward rather than someone else's.
Habit 5: Optimists are Interested in Others:
Optimists thrive in being there for others. When others are successful they don't look on with jealousy they feel good for that person. Optimists ask questions and show interest in the lives of people they know. Optimists like to share, teach, reach out, offer a helping hand, and give of their time when they can. Optimists know they can't do it all themselves and being part of the community makes a HUGE difference in life.
Habit 6: Optimists Admit when They are Wrong:
Optimists admit to their mistakes and avoid blaming others, they are confident enough in themselves to accept that they aren’t always right. This attitude makes them stronger because they know that recognizing their mistakes is a step closer to being better. Blame is a habit of the weak and passing blame says more about you than the person or event you are blaming. Optimists know, when it comes to their life they are in charge, the buck stops HERE.
Habit 7: They Practice Taking Care of Themselves:
Optimists know it takes practice and focus to stay positive. To stay balanced in this positivity takes focus and determination and they develop routines that keep them pointed in the right direction: meditation, yoga, exercise, spending time in nature, listening to music, etc. Sometimes it means disconnecting from all the negative messaging we are surrounded with and just sitting in peaceful reflection, connecting with the things we enjoy the most.
That Glass is Half Full and You Know It.
"People who are optimistic are more committed to their goals, are more successful in achieving their goals, are more satisfied with their lives, and have better mental and physical health when compared to more pessimistic people," says Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky.
Research shows that people tend to be optimistic by nature, but what if you're naturally more of an Eeyore? The trick is to act like an optimistic person. By being engaged and persistent, even if you don't feel particularly positive, the benefits of optimism—like satisfaction and health—will soon follow. In fact, seeing the proverbial glass as half full can pay off in a number of unexpected ways, from improving your work experience to enhancing your relationships, to protecting your mind and body.
It's a practice !!!