The Successful Optimist

If I showed you a glass with water up to the half-way mark, would you say it was half full, half empty, or just a glass with some water in it? Maybe your answer would vary, depending on how your day was going. Most of us are, realistically, more fluctuating optimists leaning towards being successful optimists, than 100% successful optimists. So, how can we get better at being successful optimists?

First of all, what does a successful optimist look like? The dictionary definition of optimist is: ‘someone who is hopeful about the future or expects good things to happen’. So we can assume that the successful optimist is one that is able to do this constantly.

What is the foundation to being a successful optimist? Say, optimism is like a chair, an attitude of acceptance is the ground our chair sits on. After all, it is just a glass with water. This is neither right-wrong nor good-bad. It is we who judge it to be one or the other. Acceptance allows what is, to be what it is without judgement.

The seat of the chair will be the attitude that: whatever has happened was good, whatever is happening is better, and whatever is to happen will be the best of all. This seat floats naturally above our foundation of acceptance. When we accept things as they are, the feeling that everything is as it should be, and that the future will be well, surfaces in our mind.

Our chair needs four good, equally strong legs to be stable and to support us in the face of storms.

Leg 1: Self-knowledge. Self-knowledge enables us to understand how we shape our thoughts, feelings and attitudes. It enables us to become aware of our true values and align ourselves to them. Try this: Recall a time when you were pessimistic. How did it feel? How did things go? Now recall a time when you were optimistic. How did you feel? How did things go? Which felt more comfortable?

Leg 2: Purpose. A sense of purpose or having a clear aim gives us direction, motivation and determination. Here, purpose is something aligned with our heart. It doesn’t have to relate to our job. It can relate to spreading peace in our world, bringing a smile to other’s faces or giving others hope.

Leg 3: A Belief in Something Greater than Oneself. This might be trusting that the universe has got your back to trusting in a Higher Power. It is knowing that in some way you are supported by the universe or a Higher Power.

Leg 4: Faith. This is faith in our self, in a Higher Power, in life and in others. This isn’t blind faith, rather it is a faith grounded in knowledge and that strengthens with experience. It is a faith that allows us to keep moving forward knowing that all is well, and all will be well.

A final thought. When we fluctuate into a more pessimistic outlook we might think that shifting back into an optimistic one is being unreal. However, what if being optimistic is being more real than being pessimistic? After all, it feels more comfortable doesn’t it?

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