Join +2K Subscribers

How to Become More Optimistic

May 03, 2023

Have you ever heard of someone described as a positive or negative person? It's common to put people into one of two boxes, but I have problems with those attitudes as the sole options.

What if I'm negative one day and positive the next?

Standard advice tells you to avoid negativity and to 'be positive.' However, following this advice will lead you closer to a fantasy land than reality. The problem is that someone who is too positive is almost unbearable to be around. That's because when shit really hits the fan, I don't want to act like the world is full of ice cream and rainbows; I want to know how to get out of the bad situation.

For example, if you're playing football and your team is down by 20, and someone is saying things are alright and working as planned, they might be being positive, but they aren't helping the situation.

That doesn't mean negativity is the answer (it surely is not). The only thing more unbearable than a naive person clinging to positivity is the negative person who acts like a perpetual wet blanket. I don't aspire to be positive or negative in football games or in life. What I'm after is OPTIMISM. That means accepting the current state of affairs (good, bad, or ugly) while simultaneously hoping and working for a better tomorrow.

See, Webster's dictionary defines Optimism as "hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something." The key phrase in that definition is "confidence about the future." It doesn't say ignore what's in front of you; rather, I believe the contrary. To be confident about the future, we must look at the current state and where we fall short. Then make a plan for future improvement. Without that, our confidence will lack the muscle to make a difference.

In the football example above, optimism might mean getting the team together and saying, "Alright, y'all, we're down a few scores, but if we score on our next drive, we just made this a game." This attitude acknowledges the present issues while shining light on a potentially more positive future.


So how do you become more optimistic?

It starts with a choice.

I might catch flak for this, but you must choose to see a better future. You, and solely you, are in charge of your mind and emotions.

When I'm spiraling into negativity, the simple act of going for a short walk can help trigger my brain toward an optimistic outlook.


Eyes on your feet and the horizon

To get to default optimism, you must acknowledge where you are (eyes on your feet) and see the path you want to travel (horizon). This is a balancing act. There's no question. But, it's something we can all work at and impacts everything from work, relationships, societal issues, family, etc.


What do you think? Is optimism your default?



Get business advice right to your inbox! 


Join our newsletter to receive business advice right into your inbox! 

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.