Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's Your Optimism On a Scale of 1 - 10

Optimism is a skill and can be learned, as negativity can be a habit. It depends on how you "frame" your events. I'm in control of how I respond to the events that happen around me in life. I can't control what happens, but I can always control how I respond. Recently, someone has pushed me to my limit on responding in an optimistic fashion. How I interpret an event or life situation determines how I respond.

Let me contrast a pessimist with an optimist. A pessimistic person sees things as permanent, unchangeable, transfers blame, holds onto blame, permeating negativity into everything, and are famous for rigid or absolute language. They tend to focus on the past in order to point out what did or didn't happen.

An optimistic person knows that setbacks are temporary, that they are isolated events and can be solved. Most times they aren't interested in placing blame, but would rather solve the problem. They become frustrated when an attempt to rectify can't happen, but will eventually move on whether or not the problem is solved. They tend to look towards options, solutions and actions.

Words are powerful and shape our outcomes. I find it taxing at times to distinguish between a purposefully mean comment with a comment that's intended to be funny. I tend to take things literally, logic based and at times have probably been a bit sensitive in my responses. I also over analyze, re-read things, look for hidden meanings, question motives and sometimes rationalize. I realize my limitations and know when I've been beaten. You can't always win, sometimes you do have to lose...otherwise the game will not come to an end.

Here's how you can practice optimism:
1. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 a pessimistic view, where do you see yourself now?
2. How do your beliefs impact your frames? What needs to change?
3. Think about a difficult situation you are facing now. How could you frame it differently? What would an optimistic person do in this situation?

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