Sunday, August 1, 2010

O is for Optimistic

An optimistic attitude is an essential element for achieving success. You have to be able to see in your mind what it is you are striving for. And you have to believe, to know deep down inside, that you are capable and deserving of achieving it.

You know this to be true. Think back over all the various projects you have been involved throughout your life. Remember how easy some were to complete, and how much of a struggle others seemed to be. Now if you take some time to really think about your overall frame of mind at the beginning of each project you will discover that things came easier when you were optimistic and excited about the endeavor. When you were not thinking so confidently (when you did not truly believe or see the end in your mind) you found it much harder to finish, if you finished at all.

I suppose someone could come up with an example of finding success in spite of their own pessimistic attitude. But I think those instances are few and far between. And certainly the success was most likely not enjoyed or celebrated with the energy and vigor that an optimist attitude would have brought.

You must stay aware of the inner conversation you are always having. Your subconscious and conscious minds are always talking. They simply can’t help it. There is always a dialogue running though your head and it is your responsibility to pay attention to that conversation. It is your responsibility to jump in and change it when it is drifting toward the negative. My own theory is that most of these internal conversations will drift towards the negative, and if not caught and changed, quickly spiral deeper and deeper into negative territory. You have to “listen” in and change the words being used and the questions being asked. You have to change the conversation form “Why can’t I….?” to “How can I…?” You have to push the positive thoughts and an optimistic “Yes I can” attitude to the forefront.

For most people it takes practice to remain positive. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” You need to be aware of your reactions to life’s events and practice remaining positive. You will never be able to control everything that happens to you or those around you, but you do have complete control over how you choose to react. Make a commitment to yourself to remain optimistic. Once you make that a habit you’ll have taken quite a large leap down your trail towards success.

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