I had a chat with someone this week about making a conscious effort to cultivate more optimism in life.
I'd never thought about it before, but it fascinated me.
Let's look at the what, why, and how of optimism.
What is optimism?
I started with a little word association exercise and these were the first words that came to mind...
Hope, anticipation, belief, future, improvement, trust, positivity.
Hope for a good future.
Anticipation that change is imminent.
Belief that something we dream of can happen.
Future projections (we can't be optimistic of the past).
Improvement from how things currently are.
Trust that the universe will work itself out.
A thought rooted in positivity.
Derived from the Latin word optimum - "the best".
Here's how Webster's defines it:
1: an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome
I feel like it's obvious why anyone would want to cultivate more of this thought process, but let's dive in.
Why would anyone want to cultivate optimism?
- It shows a growth mindset and an outlook of continuous learning.
- Because it's energizing and invigorating.
- To look for opportunities to get better.
- The alternative is draining.
- It cultivates happiness.
- It brings energy.
But really, I think Webster's nailed it.
An inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions to anticipate the best possible outcome.
My rephrase -> a tendency to act in a way that expects good things to happen. Belief.
There's a reason no one says "Hope for the worst, prepare for the best."
And if we're believing something, we might as well choose to believe something great.
Find the good not just in the present, but in the future.
In a world where we constantly battle the projections of our minds, optimism is an act of taking back control.
It's choosing to be intentional with our thoughts and the world we see for ourselves.
See, if someone is pessimistic, they tend to project an undesirable outcome onto their future self.
"Watch, I'll call this customer and they'll hang up on me."
"Ugh, no way I'm ever getting that job."
"I'm going to be lonely forever."
"That will never work out."
Our mind creates a future that is not desired (and frankly, not serving).
But here's the fucked up part...
That SAME MIND is then FREAKING the fuck out about the future scenario that IT made up.
How crazy does that make us seem?!
👉 We make a fake scenario up in our mind.
👉 We then dislike that made-up scenario.
👉 We react to disliking it by getting anxious, nervous, frightened, etc.
👉 We become trapped in the web of our pessimistic mind.
Our mind is the lighter fluid, the fire, and the hand that gets burned.
So yes, I think we should cultivate more optimism in our life and own our narrative.
How do you cultivate optimism?
Cultivation takes prep + planning...
- Plan activities you love & put them on the calendar.
- Find things to look forward to & don't feel guilty for looking forward to them.
- Schedule a trip to Mexico, dream of piña coladas.
- Plan a day off the grid.
- Take up a new hobby (friends speak highly of woodworking).
- Dedicate time to learn something new.
- Write one thing you're grateful for every morning.
- And one intention for the day.
Manage your inputs...
- Are you following news channels that spew negativity all the time?
- Are you hanging around people that are complainers?
- Do you sink into a victim mindset often?
Life's hard enough to think the future is doomed.
Be easy on yourself, see the good in people, and do something small that contributes to a better tomorrow.
Want to work with me 1:1 or in a cohort? Let's chat!