Building Optimism

optimist-pessimistBeing an optimist is essential on your journey of change! We believe that you are not really born an optimist or a pessimist, but rather have learned to become one over time. Realism is a myth. When someone claims to be a realist, I will bet you that they are leaning towards the pessimistic side of life…and this is why: Optimism and pessimism should not be confused with being positive or negative, but rather as to how you respond to good and bad events in your life. Let me explain.

When a bad event happens (lets say your car breaks down) the pessimist responds to this event in 3 ways. He first globalizes this once-off event by allowing it to effect all areas of his life. You will hear the pessimist say, “my whole day was a mess,” or “life is so tough!” Secondly, he eternalizes by saying, “this always happens to me” or “things will never change.” And lastly, he takes more accountability than needed by saying, “how could I have been so stupid” or “it was because I skipped the last service.”

The optimist also responds in 3 ways to the same event. Instead of globalizing, they will rather isolate the event by saying, “this sucked, but luckily I could get a taxi” or “this day was tough, but it was so good to get home to my lovely family.” Instead of eternalizing, they place a time-line on the event. They would say, “the next 3 months it will be taxis and busses for me, but then I am getting that new car” or “just a week before the car is fixed and life is back to normal.” Lastly, they don’t take too much accountability and would most likely say, “this car is so old, it was about to break down,” or “the Japanese do not make cars like they use to!”


“The optimist globalizes…”

It is fascinating that when good things happen, we see the exact opposite! The pessimist then isolates the event by saying, “I was lucky” or “this never happens to me.” The optimist globalizes and say, “This made my whole year!” The pessimist places a time line on it by saying, “I wonder how long this is going to last?” and the optimist eternalizes by saying, “the wheel has turned for me!” The pessimist pushes away accountability by thinking, “I am so blessed, don’t really deserve this,” and the optimist says, “I always attract these good things to me.”

So lets try this for the next few weeks. Make a little card that looks like the below table and make sure to stick it next to your computer or against the fridge. Use it as a grid to assess all events in your life…good or bad. Speak to yourself this way and before you know it you will have programmed the neurons of your brain to look at life in an optimistic way!

When bad or negative things happen:


Create a time-line

Take less accountability

When good or positive things happen:



Take accountability


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