Becoming a Real Optimist is No Pollyanna
Are you having a hard time being optimistic? Or maybe you're feeling frustrated with people who seem overly optimistic? Realistic optimism is essential to daily life, but especially critical when facing challenges.
Optimism is not...
Having your head stuck in the sand and denying reality. Optimism gets a bad rap. Despite what many people think, optimism is not about only focusing on the positive.
Being firmly planted in reality. Looking at the hard, scary and uncertain things squarely in the eye and maintaining a belief that we will prevail despite our current reality. This is crucial to help us maintain control, hope, and resilience.
Compared to pessimism...
Sometimes people think being pessimistic is a better option, particularly in times of hardship. But the reality is that pessimistic thinkers are bad at estimating the amount of control they have in any situation. Over-estimating control leads us to wasted energy. Under-estimating control leads to failing to take actions that could be helpful.
So how do you do realistic optimism?
Optimism, like pessimism, is a thinking style. You can learn, grow, and cultivate an optimistic mindset by following this formula: Acknowledge reality as is (even the bad) + have confidence you will prevail in the future (despite of it) + take control (through preparation, planning, and perseverance).