Research shows that optimistic people tend to be much happier and successful in life than pessimists. Pessimism often leads to depression and missing out on the joy of life. So how can we be more optimistic and lead a happier, more successful lives?
Pessimists look at new opportunities and think to themselves, “Nah, it probably won’t work for me,” and they are usually right. Most things don’t work the first time. So as a result, pessimists don’t take enough chances to try for what they want. Optimism is a mindset that anyone can learn to get what they want in life. Optimism involves the willingness to take chances, fail and try again with a good attitude. Those who take chances, end up winning once in a while, and eventually get what they want.
A case study from MetLife shows that optimistic people are far more successful than pessimists. In fact, according to their research, people who ranked among the top 10% of most optimistic people sold 88% more new business than those who were rated as the most pessimistic. Optimism is infectious, so customers naturally want to do more business with optimists vs. pessimists. Put optimism to work at the office, and you are more likely to get that promotion over your gloomier pessimistic counterparts.
Pessimism, particularly extreme pessimism, is often actually a symptom of depression. It can work both ways – pessimistic thought patterns can lead a person to depression, or a person can become depressed and therefore become a pessimist. If you want to stave off depression, then one of the most important things you can do is to start living with a more positive, optimistic outlook.
As with everything, however, optimism should be in moderation. Research has also shown that while pessimists are more likely to become depressed, unrealistic optimists are even more likely than pessimists to become depressed. Unrealistic optimists tend to set themselves up for disappointment, whether that is through the pursuit of highly unlikely career paths or through other unrealistic and overly optimistic expectations.
A realistic yet optimistic outlook will make you healthier, wealthier and happier. However, make sure that you don’t overdo it. Temper your optimism with a little bit of realistic pessimism, and you’ll be able to take advantage of opportunities as they come without setting yourself up for disappointment.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”
Is your glass half empty or half full?
Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.
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