Optimism is having the courage to try things. It’s stepping into something because we hope it will be a good thing, without knowing what will happen.
We choose an optimistic perspective, one that supports us to bear the uncertainty of life and not automatically respond to unexpected situations with fight or flight. We learn to focus on what is healthy, positive, strong and well developed and not on what is potentially dangerous or potentially wrong.
Optimists experience life as more random. They have less anxiety, less stress and sickness - they live longer, are more creative and are open to new ideas. Optimists “see more.”
An optimistic attitude allows us to put our energy and effort into creating a good next moment; one that represents what we wish for ourselves, our intimate others and the world. This means working for what we want to have happen – working, not wishing.
Optimistic people know how to live with uncertainty. They accept ambiguity as a fact of life, believing that the only thing we know for sure is the present. They know how to embrace it and not be victim to it.
Outcomes of an Optimistic Stance
Optimism creates positive energy. As energy gets generated and expands, possibilities emerge. We notice more things - we move - we experiment. When we are energized we are able to look at what is worth doing and what is worth trying. Research suggests that if you are moving and not stuck, you are healthier, both physically and emotionally.
Optimism leads to curiosity. Being interested is an antidote to troublesome interpersonal habits such as stereotyping and caricaturing both of which bind energy and keep relationships frozen and narrow.
An optimistic orientation leads to asking questions and being creative; knowing the difference between a guess and a belief. It moves us ahead and generates the capacity to deal with whatever life hands us.
Optimism can lead to success and achievement. We are more successful when we are more optimistic. Our brains are hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive.
Optimism leads to hope. We articulate wants and create visions for the future, keeping out despair and depression.
Optimism leads to courage and courage transforms hope into action. Hope needs to be tied to realism, or it is not enough. Courage is concrete and focused and it leads to doing. Courageous individuals can generate the energy to live out their hopes as they enter the world of the unknown. (Sonia ~ getting out of bed in the morning takes courage)
Optimism gives us the strength to fail. Most creative lives are filled with failure. We all know about failure, but optimists are resilient and more comfortable with the disorganization that it brings. They learn from experience and they move on, knowing that we don't learn unless we risk.
Optimism can be learned and maintained. Five things that help:
Have a strong social network.
Understand that everything that happens to us in life has both good and bad aspects.
Learn to see the positive in life.
Appreciate the small victories.
Keep yourself moving physically and in action.
The above are the words of Sonia March Nevis and Joseph Melnick, lovingly and delicately edited.