My own description of Optimism = " a comforting, warm feeling inside you when you displace existing fear and negativity with hope and positivity. "
The opposite of optimism is pessimism. An optimist and a pessimist perceive the same thing very differently. There have been a lot of debates about both mindsets.
Here's an example commonly used for the two. If an optimist sees a glass of water half-full, then a pessimist would see it as half-empty. It is about the same fact and reality but having different meanings for opposite minds.
We can also see distinct characters between them. In a "bad" economy, an optimist has the grit to work harder in seeking and growing opportunities. Meanwhile a pessimist would spew complains and blames incessantly.
So, when an optimist and a pessimist are prompted by the same news, situation, choices or opinion, their reactions will contrast greatly. The outcomes they both produce will also differ greatly.
Let's focus on optimism.
Optimism is not blind faith nor naivety. When an optimist is challenged by a hardship or a predicament, he will pause. This short mental pause is powerful because he is seeking to better understand the current situation and the environment. He ask questions like :
- do I confront this matter directly
- do I work around the obstacle
- do I wait until it cools down
- do I take another path
Thus, an optimist is a doer who will not be stopped by challenges towards his goals. He is resilient to pick himself up after a severe battering. Hence by nature, he is calming and comforting to others in desperate moments.
Optimism indicates sheer hope and a positive mind in a person. This may mean optimism is synonymous with happiness, no matter what. After some practice, optimism can become our automatic reactions. It is a mental attitude and character strength by choice seen in most successful people.
We need optimism in our life's journey or otherwise we will give up easily.
One way to make optimism our personal trait is by displacing fear and negativity with hope and positivity. So how do we do that?
For some very lucky folks, they can change the way they see things quite easily on their own. Probably through practice, meditation and self-reflection. Or they've been lucky enough growing up surrounded by positive people.
At the other end, a change in perception would be a great feat. For people mired in vicious cycles of life or trapped living in violent environment, optimism is something rare and elusive.
For many of us nowadays, we are presented with a great option to change our thinking pattern. Through Coaching, we are being guided to transform our mindset - safely, gradually and confidently. If having optimism is our choice, then we can achieve it.
Let's end this article with a quote. "Optimism isn't a belief that things will automatically get better; it's a conviction that we can make things better." Bill and Melinda Gates