Optimism For Life

Optimism For Life
Back to The PROPEL Principles

The Optimism Principle:
The Science of Overcoming Setbacks

Optimism enables people to maintain hope and motivation for doing their best, especially when life becomes challenging. People have a mix of optimistic and pessimistic thoughts, making optimistic thinking a skill that falls somewhere on a continuum. Most people believe that they’re very optimistic, but find they can become even more resilient with increased awareness and practice of optimistic thinking skills.

To enhance your level of Optimism:

  • Recall when you have been particularly resilient in the past.
  • How did you turn your thinking around from dwelling on the problem to creating a solution?
  • Write down a current challenge you’re facing now and think about how to make it:
  • temporary by focusing on solutions v. viewing the problem as permanent and dwelling on the worst-case outcome.
  • contained to one specific issue v. thinking the problem’s pervasive, causing you to worry about what else could go wrong.
  • situational by seeking external explanations v. allowing the problem to become personal by fault-finding, blaming or criticizing.

Remember, Optimists believe:

  • Positive events are personal, permanent and pervasive (and, therefore, will likely continue).
  • Negative events are specific, temporary and situational (and, therefore, can be overcome).

Pessimists, on the other hand, believe:

  • Positive events are specific, temporary and situational (and, therefore, are fleeting).
  • Negative events are personal, permanent and pervasive (and, therefore, will always be there to affect their lives).

Talk to Dr. Tom Muha:

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