November 26, 2022

“A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty.”
Winston Churchill

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Anaïs Nin

One of the most common questions people email me is how to become an optimist.

So this week I just want to share three habits that can help you get started.

I use these myself almost every day to stay optimistic in pretty much any situation.

It can sometimes take me a while to find an optimistic train of thought, but these three habits usually help me along the way.

1. Ask yourself questions that let you see the optimistic viewpoint.

When I find myself in a seemingly negative situation, my most common way to make something better out of it is to ask myself questions that encourage optimism and help me find solutions.

Questions like:

What is positive or good about this situation? What can I learn from this situation? What is an opportunity in this situation?

I can’t always use these questions right away. Sometimes I need some time to process and accept the feelings and thoughts that arise.

But after a while, when those thoughts and feelings have mostly gone, I ask myself one or more of these questions.

2. Get optimistic support from the world around you.

One of the most important factors in staying optimistic are the influences around you.

Like enthusiasm, optimism is contagious.

So find ways to create an environment that supports you.

the people in your life.

Try to spend more time with optimistic people and less time with people who always seem to be negative about you.

Positive people will support you, add positive energy and help you find a constructive shift in perspective when you find yourself in a situation that is taking you down and when you are about to make a mountain out of a mosquito.

The information you have put into your mind.

One of the easiest things you can do to create and support your own optimism is to read blogs and books regularly and listen to or watch recordings made by optimistic people.

3. Start your day in an optimistic way.

How you start your day often sets the tone for the rest of the day.

A stress-free morning leads to less stress and better focus throughout the day.

Exercising early in the day gives you more energy for the whole day.

And optimism while eating your cereal or driving to work or school can help you stay positive and constructive as you navigate the ups and downs of your day.

Three practical ways to get that good start are:

Read or watch something upbeat or funny for 10-20 minutes in the morning. Have an uplifting conversation at breakfast or early in the day. Listen to a motivational audiobook or podcast while you travel by bus, bike, or walk.