Maybe it’s Better Than You Think
I’m a realist. How do I know? I look both ways before crossing a one way street. Sounds excessive? Our very own one way street, Central Avenue, gets cars going the wrong way. I’ve seen it myself. More than once. I’m a realist.
The good news is that I’m a realist who works at optimism. I don’t just plan for the worst. I hope for the best. Planning for the worst is responsible. It’s risk management, a critical component of good organizational governance. Hoping for the best is necessary in all aspects of life including organizational success. This speaks to purpose and mission and influences strategy.
This realist who works at optimism does so by focusing on being more positive than negative. It’s that easy. Here’s an example. As I write this, it’s grey and overcast. I could focus on this and think about it being a gloomy and depressing day. Or, I could focus on the fact that it’s only -2 degrees, there’s no wind, and I comfortably wore a sweater, not a coat, when I went out for milk. I could focus on the fact that it’s October 28th and I don’t have to shovel snow! Just like that, this day is much brighter for me.
Optimism, isn’t about being super cheerful and positive, all of the time, about everything. That’s out of balance. Optimism, really, is choosing to explain things to ourselves, in our head, and out loud to others, in a “more good than bad” light. That’s it. Good stuff comes out of this simple choice. It can give us mental and emotional relief. It can safeguard our physical health by reducing the frequency and amount of stress hormones flooding our bodies and brains.
Optimism is not a personality trait. It’s a practice that you choose or don’t choose to do. More good than bad – is the new perfect!