Eight Steps To More Optimism

Written on Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 at 12:10 pm by Christiane

 “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate” (Thomas Watson). “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” (Winston Churchill)

There are many quotes and inspiring stories about optimism, perseverance and how failures ultimately turned into successes. Just think for a minute about Abraham Lincoln’s political career. I think nobody questions that he was a very successful politician up to becoming president. Still, there were several setbacks in his career where he ran for office in congress or senate and didn’t make it – but he never gave up.

Inventor Thomas Edison spent countless of hours on the development of the carbonized cotton-thread filament for the incandescent light bulb. When a reporter asked him about the failures, Edison supposedly answered “I didn’t fail; I found out 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb.” (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/National_Treasure_(film) )

Most of us would have given up earlier or not even started the endeavor.

Why some people are willing to embark on a long journey toward a difficult goal and others don’t even try is a question many psychologists would like to answer. There is evidence that genes play a role and some people are simply born more optimistic than others. However, there is also evidence that optimism can be learned, which is good news as this means we all can take steps to increase optimism.

Eight steps to increase optimism:

  1. Don’t wait for life to happen. Set a goal and also define subgoals to mark progress toward your ultimate goal. Then make an action plan to implement your goal.
  2. Celebrate milestones, for example when you reach a subgoal.
  3. If there are setbacks, don’t give up immediately on your goal. Focus on  ways to overcome setbacks and remind yourself how far you have come already..
  4. At the end of each day, recall positive events of the day. Find three things that you are grateful for that they happened. This can be mundane things like finding a parking spot quickly.
  5. Surround yourself with positive and optimistic people. Over time you will learn from others to see the glass as half full.
  6. Make sure that you do every day something just for fun. As more positive experiences you have, as more will you enjoy your life.
  7. Exercise regularly. Studies show that physical activity acts like a natural antidepressant.
  8. And last, but not least: Team up with a life coach to have someone who gently pushes you forward toward your goal, keeps you on track, is your cheerleader and sounding board, and helps you to overcome obstacles on your way to success. You will be amazed what a life coach can do for you!

 Written by Christiane Turnheim. Christiane is a professional life and career coach in Massachusetts and teaches psychology at a community college in the Boston area. She is author of the e-workbook “Job Satisfaction – Learn To Love Your Job”  . Email her at c<http://www.privatedaddy.com?q=FXdcUwpNVHANBzlJNFBsSXIVens9MHRiTA-3D-3D_19>

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