Miss Hailey! How are you doing this glorious morning? I hope you had a refreshing night’s rest.
While I was musing to myself about life, I decided to pen you this letter so that you can have an idea of what optimism means and why it is so important that you have it.
An optimistic person lives much longer than a pessimist. Yeah, take it to the bank! What exactly do I mean by optimism? As you already have a vague notion of what optimism means.
When I say optimism, I mean the ability to feel that you can have what you want, to hope for the best outcome in a given situation, to feel in control of your life and to explain your failures/challenges in a way that motivates you, not weakens you.
To feel that you can have what you want, it is important to have realistic wants and aspirations. Don’t have grandiose ideas. It is more difficult to believe you can have what you want if it is outside your skill set. For instance, it will be very difficult for me to truly believe that I can be the next Einstein when I am very bad at physics and mathematics. Someone trying to make me feel that I can do this will probably be disappointed by my pessimism in this scenario.
In every situation, there are a number of ways it can go and it always helps to cultivate the ability to hope for the best outcome. I have seen so many posts on social media talking about the dangers of hope, but I must say that the inability to hope for the best prevents you from taking calculated risks, like in business. You’d be literally incapacitated by fear if you ever lost your inability to hope for the best.
Many people feel helpless to change their lives and get what they want. They focus on all the things that are beyond their control and feel at the mercy of fate and higher powers. If only such people could learn to dwell on all the things in their lives that are within their control, such as their weight, what they choose to wear, where they choose to live, etc they would feel more optimistic and stop saying to themselves well let me just do my little part, after all, it’s only God that can help me in this situation. Confidence would be the natural by-product of feeling in control of their lives.
One little-known component of optimism is the way you explain failure/success to yourself. This is known as attributional style in psychology.
Many people explain success to themselves as being largely caused by external factors, as something not likely to replicate itself and as specific to that situation. They also explain failure to themselves as being due to something within them (or external causes beyond their control), likely to repeat itself and will spread into other parts of their lives. This type of self-explanation is pessimistic. I’ll give you an example.
Lola was a young lady with a pessimistic attributional style. She was intelligent and often passed her exams, but she attributed her successes to the exam was easy, the teacher was in a good mood while marking my script and it was the grace of God. She also saw her passing her exams as being dependent on these factors and of course, not certain to replicate themselves.
And she saw her intelligence as being specific to just her studies. However, she was unable to make and keep friends. She saw her failure to do this as because I’m boring, it’s my subconscious mind and it’s my fate. She was unable to envisage having friends at work, church and in her neighbourhood. And that she would end up alone.
When she was taught about optimistic attributional style, she began to see her academic success as It’s because of my innate intelligence. I see the big picture whenever things are explained to me, I have a good memory and I write my exam answers in a concise and articulate manner which my teachers love. She also saw her success in exams as being highly likely to replicate themselves, as they were due to these factors and she saw her intelligence, good memory and concise manner of writing as something that would be of great help in all aspects of her life. This made her very confident and she made fewer mistakes academically and elsewhere.
She also saw her failure to make and keep friends as being due to poor social skills and poor friendship forming & maintenance skills. She was relieved to discover that it was not due to any innate boring nature, fate and it needn’t become her destiny. With her innate intelligence, she decided to read up on social skills, friendship forming & maintenance skills and she keenly observed people who seemed to make and keep friends effortlessly.
The end result is that Lola now has a wide circle of acquaintances and friends who value her greatly.
I got to go, Miss Hailey. I hear my neighbour calling me. Talk to you later!
Did I leave anything out? Like and share this post if it helped you and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
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