In a world that is cluttered with negative noise, it’s important for an individual to be optimistic. Even though we cannot control 100% of the events that happen around us, we can still influence our reactions to everything.
It might not surprise you, but I really believe the world would be a better place if people were more optimistic, rather than living a life filled with pessimism. In fact, being optimistic and having a bit of positivity are very important factors of happiness. But what are examples of an optimistic person, and how can you actually become one?
By the time you're finished reading this, you'll know what optimism is, and how a little bit of optimism can help you improve your life!
- What is optimism exactly?
- What if I'm not an optimist?
- What are some examples of optimism?
- What are the benefits of being an optimistic person?
- Actionable methods to become an optimistic person
- Wrapping up
What is optimism exactly?
Optimism is simply defined as being positively hopeful and having confidence in the future success of events. Optimism and positivity are both fundamental factors of happiness.
This may sound simple in theory, but in reality, optimism is a trait that is difficult to possess and maintain.
The few people that do know how to be an optimist are able to achieve things that could be considered impossible in the eyes of others.
This is because pessimists see the negatives and think about why something will not work, while optimists focus on the positives or the “what if’s” of how something could work.
What if I'm not an optimist?
Do not fret if you aren’t an optimist! Being an optimist is not defined by your genes. Instead, being an optimist is something you can train and actually turn into a habit. The fact that you’re reading this right now is a sign that you want to improve, so we're off to a good start!
Just like other skills, becoming an optimist is something that takes work and gets easier when you have examples to follow and recognize. That's why this article focuses on examples of optimism that you can recognize in your daily life in order to improve your positive self.
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What are some examples of optimism?
As I’ve mentioned before, optimism is looking at the positives of probable events. It basically means seeing the positives and the opportunities of certain scenarios, no matter what the odds might say.
Here are examples (some personal) that will show you how optimism can help you steer your life in a better, happier direction.
1. Getting your only debit card blocked in a foreign country
This example actually happened to a close friend of mine. He embarked on a solo backpacking journey around the world.
But when he used a malfunctioning ATM, his card got stuck inside the machine. Yikes. What made it worse is that it was a Sunday so the bank was closed and unable to help.
So what did he do?
He freaked out for a moment, as he was in a foreign country without any money. He even thought of going back home but then wisely decided to tackle his problem like an optimist
He thought of solutions instead of problems.
He soon found that cryptocurrency (he’s a crypto fan) could easily be exchanged for the local currency. So he looked for people online to help him out and within a few hours, he exchanged some of his crypto for the local currency.
While a pessimist would've given up and blamed the world (anybody but himself) for not having a backup plan, the optimist in him focused on solutions and eventually found one.
2. Focusing on the positives while stuck in traffic
Being stuck in traffic is a common part of our lives. And while many people dread being stuck in traffic, optimistic people will find a way to still enjoy it a little.
For instance, I always listen to an audiobook while I'm stuck in traffic. In addition, if I’m only going to be stuck for 5 or 10 minutes, I’ll usually give my girlfriend a call, or crank up the volume on one of my favorite music albums.
This way you’ll be able to shift your focus from something negative to something that’s positive. And that’s exactly what an optimist would do.
can make a significant difference
3. Losing your job
For some people, losing a job can lead to depression and sometimes initiates a mid-life crisis.
While losing your job undeniably sucks, an optimistic person would look at this as an opportunity to find a much more fitting job rather than a complete setback.
In a similar situation, an optimist will always have a better experience in dealing with the issues at hand. Sure, the challenges and amount of stress might be theoretically the same, but it’s easier to work on a solution when you actually have a positive mindset.
And that is the biggest advantage of being an optimist. An optimist has the ability to focus on the positive aspects of a situation, no matter what the circumstances.
What are the benefits of being an optimistic person?
Every day, we are faced with challenges and uncertainties that we couldn't have predicted. And while these things are often out of our control, we can still control how we react and feel in such scenarios.
This is where optimism has many benefits. I’ll share some benefits of how a bit of optimism and positivity can change the way you react in the face of adversity.
A positive mindset triggers creativity to deal with challenges
When most people set a goal in life, they don't account for the problems that might surface along the way. When these problems come up, a pessimist will see the problem as a hurdle that can’t be overcome. On the other hand, an optimistic person will be more committed to finding a solution.
This finding was confirmed in a fun study by Barbara Frederickson. The study found that a positive mindset can be triggered, and more importantly, that a positive mindset initiates more creativity and an urge to "play ball". Basically, when you have a positive mindset, you're better able to deal with the challenges that life throws at you.
An optimist is more likely to take the first step, no matter how big the climb seems
Most pessimists give up before even trying something big, because they focus too much on the negatives and how something can go wrong.
A pessimist sees the negatives or the difficulty in every opportunity whereas an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.Winston Churchill
From experience, I've learned that the hardest and most critical part of reaching just about any goal is actually starting. Taking that first step is often the hardest thing to do.
Thinking about all the possible negativity will keep a pessimist from starting at all. It’s rather sad actually because most people are too busy trying to convince themselves to start.
In the meantime, an optimist has already started by now and is putting in the work it takes.
Sure, he’ll eventually face the same challenges a pessimist would, but facing these challenges is much easier when you’re already moving forward!
Actionable methods to become an optimistic person
Even when you consider yourself to be a pessimist, there are still great methods to train your mind to be more optimistic. As I already said, you're not born a pessimist, and with effort, you can develop the skill of positive if you put in the effort.
1. Be a source of positivity for others
On your pathway to becoming more optimistic, you will encounter a lot of people that are dealing with similar issues like you. I want you to consider the possibility of being a source of positivity for these people.
Humans tend to unknowingly copy the behavior of others, and as some of you might know: emotions can be contagious!
If your partner or close friend is sad or angry then there is a possibility that you will feel that emotion as well. The same works for positivity, laughter, and happiness.
Your happiness can actually radiate to other people. Your smile has the power to bring a smile to someone else's face! How can you put this to practice?
- Smile at a stranger.
- Try to laugh when you're around others. Laughter is one of the best remedies for sadness.
- Do something nice for somebody else, a.k.a. a random act of kindness.
- Compliment somebody and notice how it affects their happiness.
2. Be grateful for what you already have
You've probably heard this one before, but I'm still going to include this as a method to become more optimistic. Practicing gratitude can have a great effect on your mental health, as shown by numerous studies.
I've covered the topic of being grateful and how it influences your happiness in this article.
How can you practice gratitude?
- Thank your family for everything they've done for you.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Remember the happy memories of your life and be grateful for those memories.
- Think about and focus on the positive things you have going on in your life.
I find that remembering good memories helps me maintain a happy mind. Thinking back about that time that I laughed my ass off about something silly brings a smile to my face.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
In a world filled with negativity, it is quite common for someone to be surrounded by negativity.
In fact, spending time with negative people who continually focus on the negative side of a situation is the quickest way to become a negative pessimist too.
There’s an old saying that supports this:
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
If you hang out with pessimists, it’s likely that you’ll slowly turn into one yourself.
It luckily works the other way around too. Surround yourself with optimists, and you'll slowly embrace that mindset yourself as well!
- Unfriend people who add nothing but negativity to your life!
- Pay attention to your true friends who mean something to you and have a positive influence on your happiness!
Friends have a great effect on your happiness, so focusing on positivity while with your friends is even more powerful in becoming happier yourself.
4. Focus on your own success and don’t compare
Comparison is the thief of joy.
This is so important, especially now that everybody is constantly trying to impress the world with their amazing lives (looking at you, Instagram).
Some people compare what they have to what others have and then decide to feel down about not being able to keep up.
Why can’t I be successful? Why can’t I go on that nice holiday? Why wasn’t I invited to that party?
Those are all negative mindsets, and they will only lead to misery.
How about you appreciate what you have going for yourself a little more? Screw the rest of the world! You should be positive about what you already have, instead of what others have that you don’t. Stop comparing yourself to others, and you'll soon find yourself with a more positive mindset!
If you find this hard, then I really advise you to experiment with blocking social media. Try to remove Facebook and Instagram for a week, and see how that influences your state of mind.
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Optimism is a simple yet powerful trait that can make a huge impact on how we live our lives. If you learn to embrace optimism, you'll likely live a richer, more productive, and happier life. If that's not enough motivation to get started on this optimistic path, then I don't know what is!
Did I miss a tip that helped you embrace optimism in the past? Do you want to share your own experience or an anecdote on how you decided to become an optimistic person? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!