Monday, August 5, 2013

Optimism Is the Best Policy

The way you look at life can drastically affect how much you enjoy it. If you have a positive attitude, you will be considered an optimistic person. If you have a negative attitude, you will be considered a pessimistic person. Optimists expect the best out of life. If you were not lucky enough to be raised with this attitude as a child, don’t fret, it can be learned.

Here are the tenets on which optimism is based:

  • Bad things do happen in life, but they are temporary.
  • Bad things in life are limited in scope; that is, they are small or insignificant.
  • People have control over their environments.

Here are the tenets on which pessimism is based:

  • Good things in life are temporary.
  • Good things in life are limited in scope; in other words, they are small or insignificant.
  • People have no control over their environments.

According to conventional wisdom, optimists and pessimists are both right about the same number of times, but optimists enjoy life more.

Optimists help create some of the good they come to expect, so they are probably right more than not – and they don’t waste time worrying about what they’re not right about.

Think of the benefits of being an optimist. Optimism relaxes people. When we’re relaxed, there is better blood flow to the brain, which results in more energy and creativity.

In Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman lists many studies that report that optimists are:

  • Healthier
  • Less likely to give up
  • More successful in school, on the job, and on the playing field
  • More successful in relationships
  • Depressed less often, and for shorter periods of time


-Adapted from Taking Care of Me: The Habits
Of Happiness by Mary Kay Mueller.

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