Sunday, 23 March 2014
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Psychologist Martin Seligman, the godfather of the positive psychology moment, conducted extensive research in optimists versus pessimists. What he found was optimism can be learned. He discovered that optimists consistently talk about what they are rather than what they are not, or what they have instead of what they don't have. Pessimists have one thing in common, they talk about why things are not the way they should be and what they don't have.
We are not born pessimists. In fact, all children are optimists until we program them differently. Stand outside any amusement park on any given weekend and talk to the families that exit. Kids come out and you ask them, "What did you think of the park?" The gush, "Oh that was so cool!" Now talk to the parents and here is what they say, "Lines are too long". "Food was overpriced". "The damn noise and crowds get on my nerves". So is the amusement park a happy place or a place from hell? The answer is - it is neither. It depends on the meaning we give to it.
How did we go from being born optimists to being pessimists? Somewhere along the way we were trained not to be optimistic in case things don't work out. If you are too optimistic and things don't work out you will be very disappointed. But if you are pessimistic and they don't work out you will be less disappointed and of course, you will be "right".
Seligman also states that we can learn or re-learn how to be optimistic. According to his research optimists outperform pessimists ten to one!
Maybe it is time to reprogram our thinking and ask, "What is good about this situation?" and if we cannot find the good, ask, "What does my reaction to this say about me?" This can help you to become more of an optimist.
Truly Caring for Your Success!
Dr. Robert Anthony