Optimism is a choice

A new week: Are you feeling optimistic – or pessimistic? How are you feeling right now, as you read this? It’s good to be aware of how you feel, but don’t become a slave to your view of the future. It creates the script for what will actually occur.

In truth we are all both optimists and pessimists several times a day, faced with different situations. Whenever something “happens to us” we have a choice to be one or the other. What is more interesting is the way we come to our perspectives. The brain invents a “counter fact” to events – an alternate scenario our brains create to help us evaluate and make sense of what happened. It could be “Well it could have been a lot worse” or “That’s pretty unlucky” – or anything in between.

This goes on to influence far more than one’s attitude to an individual event. Those who pick positive counter facts open their minds up to a whole range of subsequent perceived benefits to spur their motivation further. Research shows that people with positive counter facts have more successful careers, relationships and even live longer. For this reason alone my usual sense of optimism is deliberate and pragmatic, rather than wishful.

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