9 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Optimistic

Being Optimistic - Danish Proverb

Have you ever wondered…

…how do some people manage to live both happy and healthy lives?

Well… they apply a small, but powerful principle.

They are optimistic.

“Optimism is an attitude associated with a positive expectation about the future.”

An expectation that something pleasurable or to your advantage will take place.

Research has shown that being optimistic leads to a combination of great benefits, such as:

  • A meaningful life
  • Achieving goals
  • Fulfilling relationships
  • Good health
  • Sound sleep
  • Increased chances of success

In this article, we will show you how optimism can give you the kind of life that is worth living.

Get ready to change your life for the better…

1. Being Optimistic Makes Your Life More Meaningful

Beethoven Portrait

Renowned German composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, was suicidal at the age of 31.

At that time, he was deaf, poor and hopeless.

Anything BUT optimistic.

Then how did he manage to compose “Ode to Joy” 20 years later?

Somehow, he found a way to create a meaningful existence for himself.

Want to know his secret?

Beethoven's Secret....

He developed a positive attitude towards the future. And, he stopped dwelling on the difficulties of the present.

Simple and powerful, isn’t it?

His many achievements show you that being optimistic can drive you towards a better life.

Psychiatrist Dr George Vaillant explains how Beethoven managed to mentally rise above his circumstances.

He studied three large samples of adults over several decades to identify aspects of Beethoven’s optimistic mind-set.

He concluded that:

How Beethoven Managed To Mentally Rise Above His Circumstances...

He Shifted His Attention Away From Himself… Towards Being Generous To Others

When Beethoven focused on the joy he wanted to bring others through his music, he paid less attention to his problems.

He Channeled His Energy Into Creating Things He Could Proud Of.

As Beethoven’s hearing deteriorated he became depressed and suicidal.

But he snapped out of it.

He then wrote a testament to his brothers stating his resolution to continue living for his art.

His commitment to his craft banished his thoughts of suicide.

His music motivated him to rise above his circumstances.

He Suppressed His Negative Feelings and Shifted His Focus To The Positive

Beethoven could not hear when people had conversations around him.

He came up with the creative idea of conversation books where his friends wrote what they talked about in his presence.

He then responded either orally, or in the book.

Beethoven found something fun and interactive…

…that deflected his attention from his disability.

Beethoven wrote the optimistic hymn “Ode to Joy” as a celebration of the brotherhood of humanity.

He personally experienced this brotherhood because he had a close and devoted circle of friends all his life.

They were attracted by his strength of personality.

Towards the end of his life, Beethoven’s friends competed in their efforts to help him cope with his incapacities.

So, the above characteristics, according to Vaillant,…

…lead to a successful and joyful life – like Beethoven’s.

2. Optimism Helps You Achieve Your Goals

Achieve Goals

We all know about the importance of setting goals.

Unfortunately, we are not always disciplined enough to actually sit down and set some goals.

But there is something that you can do to make goal-setting easier.

What could this be?

By simply being optimistic.

Bobby Medlin and Kenneth Green discovered that you can improve your performance at work through goal setting and optimism.

Their study found that setting goals has the following positive effects:

  • Goals motivate you to remain committed to your projects.
  • The commitment to your goals causes you to become more optimistic about achieving them.
  • Optimism improves your individual performance and increases your chances of success.

It’s Time To Sit Down And Write Down Some Goals.

You will immediately feel more optimistic…

…as you have a better future to look forward to.

3. A Positive Outlook Increases Your Chances Of Success

Success Mountaintop

Having high expectations for success…

…is a major component of optimism.

This attitude makes you work harder and longer.

It also helps you devise more effective problem-solving strategies.

How Optimism Makes You More Effective At Problem Solving

Optimists appear to have a global processing bias which makes them better able to see all the features of a situation.

While Pessimists tend to become fixated on the one component of the situation.

This is according to the founder of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman.

Optimism has been linked to higher achievement…

…in areas such as education, politics, military leadership, business and sport.

In One Study,

Seligman analysed the communication style of US presidential candidates between 1900 and 1984.

He studied their acceptance nomination speeches.

In 18 out of 22 elections, voters chose the candidate who projected the greater optimism.

He used this technique to accurately predict the outcome of the 1988 US presidential primaries.

The study concluded that people with high expectations of success…

…have more robust coping tendencies.

They display more tenacity in the face of difficult problems, than those with lower expectations.

  • Whether you want to be president of your country or the CEO of the company your work for.
  • If you aspire for a place in the national football team or want to be a good parent

…optimism can increase your chances of success exponentially.

Every day, you need to solve problems that are roadblocks on your way to success.

Being optimistic gives you the consistent tenacity, you need, to solve these types of problems.

4. Being Optimistic Makes You More Money

Make Money

Many research studies have shown optimism has a real impact…

…on the ultimate success or failure of your career or business.

Those Who Are More Optimistic Have More Resilience In The Face Of Day-To-Day Struggles At Work...

The road to success will have many tight turns and potholes along the way.

You need to be able to pick yourself up after a career failure, dust yourself off, and keep moving.

Optimism enables you to get the kind of work you want,…

  • to do that work effectively
  • and to achieve long-term success in your career.

What Does Optimism Tangibly Do For Your Career?

A recent poll done by Gallup, an US research statistics company, revealed that:

  • When you enjoy the work you do, you become better at it.
  • When you are good at your work you make more money out of it.
  • When you love the work you do, you become optimistic about financial prospects
  • Each year you can look forward to promotion and more money and often get it because the effort you put into your work justifies it.

… further, banks are in fact more likely to approve loan applications to those that are more enthusiastic and optimistic.

Isn’t optimism is a small price to pay to get such a great reward?

5. Optimism Improves Your Health

Healthier

Stress has been proven as the leading cause of illness.

If you want to prevent the negative effects of stress,…

…being optimistic is the antidote.

When you feel stress or trauma, you experience…

  • high inflammation in your body.
  • this increases the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • you also have decreased ability to fight viral infections.

This is according to a study conducted by Dr Barbara Fredrickson.

How Optimism Lowers Stress and Inflammation

Dr Barbara Fredrickson, performed a groundbreaking study on the relationship between stress and optimism.

She took blood samples of 60 adults to measure the effects of stress on their bodies.

The results were astounding.

The tests revealed that people who were optimistic had lower inflammation.

This meant that they had lower risk of heart disease.

Those who had more to look forward to in life also had high levels of antivirals.

Which prevented common infections such as colds and flu.

All it took for them to have a healthier body, was having an optimistic mind.

Their attitude to their situation determined how adversity affected their bodies.

So, if you want to have the strength to weather the storms of life,…

…you need to have a positive attitude towards life.

This will make you both healthier and happier.

6. Positivity Helps You Sleep Better

Cat Sleeping

Optimists worry less than pessimists,…

…so they don’t lie awake at night, struggling to sleep.

They are less likely to be counting sheep while they try to fall asleep, or thinking in circles about how bad life is.

How Optimism Helps You Sleep Better

The National Institute of Health in the US studied the correspondence between positive characteristics and quality sleep.

They studied a community based sample of 1805 adults between the ages of 30 and 84.

The results were fascinating.

They found that:

  • those with insomnia scored lower on optimism.
  • the pessimists also had shorter sleep duration – less than 6 hours per night.
  • their days tended to be more depressing as a result.

The optimists managed to sleep for more than 7 hours a night…

…and they had a happier mood throughout the day.

How exactly do optimists manage to sleep better?

It’s all in their mind.

  • They are able to let go of the frustrations of the day.
  • They dwell on the good experiences which overshadow the negative.
  • They hope and expect that tomorrow will be even better than today.
  • They allow their mind to take time off problem-solving.

So, When Optimists Lie Down To Sleep, Their Minds Welcome The Opportunity To Take Time-Out.

Don’t you think that 8 hours of quality sleep sounds better than counting sheep?

7. A Positive Outlook Improves Your Relationships

Love - Relationships

There is a direct link between optimism and…

  • …happy marriages,
  • …fulfilling family life
  • …and deep social relationships.

This is according to top Positive Psychologist, Lionel Tiger.

Without the initial commitment, these relationships would not even exist.

But with added optimism, they can thrive.

How Optimism Improves Relationships

Tiger found that optimism in relationships had both immediate and long-term benefits.

Its immediate effects are harmonious interactions on a daily basis, which lead to:

  • Peace
  • Cooperation
  • Compassion

In the long term, being optimistic has a strong positive impact on the quality of family relationships.

It works like this:

  • …a couple works on building a good life together
  • …this creates a positive home environment for them and their children
  • …when members of this family go out into the world, they spread that positive vibe to others
  • …family members become attractive to others and make friends easily.

Take a moment to think of people who you really enjoy spending time with…

More often then not you will find they have one or more of the following characteristics…

  • positive attitude
  • expect the best out of situations
  • cheerfulness
  • fun… joking, singing and dancing

Tiger Highlights That Optimists Form Satisfactory Relationships With Less Difficulty Than Pessimists

He acknowledged that all relationships have challenges.

But says that optimists strive to create an environment where negativity cannot last.

Considering how important relationships are to a happy life, isn’t it worth it being optimistic about them?

8. Gratitude For Bad Things Is A Good Thing

Gratitude - Grateful

It is a common cliché that we should be grateful for all the good things in our lives.

But a study conducted by the Greater Good Science Center turns this logic upside-down.

They found that…

It Is More Important To Be Grateful For Negative Life Events than for Positive Events

Surely that goes against everything that we have heard about gratitude?

Why would this be the case?

The answer will surprise you.

It was found that…

Being Grateful For Negative Situations, Helps You Appreciate What You Already Have – Even More

Think about all that is NOT going well in your life at the moment…

Now ask yourself,

“What can I gain out of this situation? What am I grateful for in this situation?”

Strive to find answers to these two questions, and you will discover that…

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

Napoleon Hill

You just have to look for it…

9. Being Optimistic Makes You More Resilient

Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor…

Millions died during that time but he survived…

…and thrived.

He wrote, “Man’s Search for Meaning” to help others understand how to overcome adversity.

Victor Frankl's Great Discovery

In the concentration camps, Victor Frankl made an amazing discovery…

He found that even under the most painful conditions one could still find meaning.

When you are optimistic, even your suffering is meaningful.

Once you discover a greater purpose for your life, all challenges pale in comparison.

All you need to do is exercise your freedom to choose your attitude towards the situation.

There is a simple formula for this…

…it is encapsulated in his philosophy called Logotherapy.

Frankl formulated Logotherapy to help people define the source of their will to live.

He disagreed with other philosophers such as:

  • Fredrich Nietzshe who said that people were motivated by their will for power.
  • Sigmund Freud who said people are driven by the will for pleasure.

Instead, He Emphasised That You Should Direct Your Will Towards Living A Meaningful Life

Frankl believed that finding meaning in one’s life was more important than either power or pleasure.

The Principles of Logotherapy

The three principles of logotherapy are:

  1. Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
  2. Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.
  3. We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience…

…or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.

When you apply Logotherapy to your life…

…you will discover that you have the power to be optimistic in all circumstances…

Because Even The Most Difficult Times, Can Be Of Benefit In Some Way...

And thus be meaningful to your human experience.

In Conclusion – Be More Optimistic

So you see…

The Kind Of Life You Want Is One Simple, Optimistic Thought Away!

Who would have ever thought it could be that easy?

The results…

  • Good health.
  • Lots to be grateful for
  • A meaningful life
  • Achieving your goals
  • And the resilience to get through it all.

It’s time to ask yourself,

“How can I be optimistic about the situation I am facing now?”

 

About the author

    Sarah Setlaelo

    I have worked in the personal development industry for over a decade and learned some life-changing principles that I am passionate about sharing with others.