August 20, 2015

Choosing to Be an Authentic Optimist

Cydcor Authentic Optimist
Flickr CC via charl_brink

Is your glass half full, or is it half empty?

Before you answer this question, take a moment to think about what you’re being asked. The standard response from a traditional optimist is that the glass is half full.

Pessimists also provide an expected answer and observe that the glass is half empty. But an authentic optimist, one who’s been improving his or her performance at work and in life, will simply say, “I’m thankful that I have a glass.”

You see, the authentic optimist has developed the ability to see the details in the situations and challenges the encounter every day. They have learned to recognize opportunity and respond with originality tempered with a bit of audacity. Optimism has a lot of benefits—one of them is original thinking.

Optimism isn’t a trick. It’s not a gift, either. It’s something you can learn. It’s a skill you must learn if you want to develop your career and build success. At its best, optimism is a way of life. Are you ready to embrace it fully?

You may have been taught that to be an optimistic person you must “hope for the best.” Actually, those are two different things. Hoping for the best leads to passive decision making you will sit where you are until something good happens. But you may be sitting in the wrong place. When something good happens on the next street over, you’ll miss it entirely because you misunderstood optimism.

Optimism is a state of mind, a decision, and a daily practice. As you begin to cultivate your own personal optimism you’ll begin to see that it’s not a magic bean or a book of spells. Optimism is a point of view. It’s learning how to see that each challenge you face at work, on the road, on the phone, and at home, presents you with an invitation and an opportunity to achieve your goals.

Now, it’s easy to see bad news and difficulty. Even some optimistic people may see that the glass is half empty. But authentic optimistic people have developed their skills to achieve and expect success. They never stop looking once they notice that the glass is half empty. An optimist sees that there are choices to be made and opportunities to be considered.