A sense of optimism can be a powerful tool in creating what you want in your career, and life in general. But it's not all about sitting there with a goofy grin and thinking happy thoughts. Having a positive outlook is only part of the puzzle. The other part - and this is important - is doing something to turn that positive outlook into reality.
Here's an excellent article that describes something it calls Dynamic Optimism.
The dynamic optimist both interprets experience positively, and influences outcomes positively. Merely believing that everything will work out fine without taking action makes one a foolish optimist, not a dynamic optimist. For optimism to give us the power to overcome the limits in our lives it needs to fully recognize reality, not hide from it. For optimism to maximize our abilities and happiness, we have to take responsibility for our thoughts, our attitudes, and our actions. This world is full of possibility. We can achieve almost anything we can conceive. Yet we will move forward only by turning dreams into practical, rational, responsible thinking. This kind of thinking will naturally generate productive activity.
The article points to twelve things dynamic optimists do, both in experiencing their experiences positively, and influencing outcomes positively.
INTERPRETING EXPERIENCE POSITIVELY:
(1) Selective Focus: Emphasizing the enjoyable, constructive, open aspects of life.
(2) Refraining from Complaining: Avoiding pointless complaining and whining about one’s difficulties. Taking the world as it is and not complaining that life isn’t fair.
(3) Questioning Limits: A constructive skepticism that challenges the limiting beliefs held by ourselves, our associates, and our society. A fundamental creative openness to possibilities.
(4) Sense of Abundance: Feeling free to do what you want, rather than feeling compelled by circumstances or people. Recognizing the world to be full of opportunities. Being for things, not against things.
(5) Humor: Seeing one’s own shortcomings with a sense of humor. Allowing healthy, good-natured humor to reveal new perspectives and combat dogmatic thinking.
INFLUENCING OUTCOMES POSITIVELY:
(6) Rational: Using reason rather than being lead by fears and desires. Objectively assessing situations and taking action based on understanding reality apart from our wishes.
(7) Self-Improving: Optimists see the self as a process and seek continual improvement. Their drive to improve is not pushed by fear but pulled by a inspiring self-image.
(8) Experimental: Frequently trying fresh approaches, staying out of ruts, actively seeking more effective ways of achieving goals, and being willing to take calculated risks.
(9) Self-Confident: Believing that we can bring about good things. A fundamental conviction of competence in living.
(10) Self-Worth: Believing one is worthy of success and happiness. Without this, attempts to improve one’s life will lack motivation.
(11) Personal Responsibility: Taking charge and creating the conditions for success. Being aware of how we determine our chances of success. This crucially involves integrity: living according to one’s values.
(12) Selecting Environment: Being attracted to positive people and situations. Seeking out those who will support and inspire, not discourage, distract, and undermine.
Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst (sm)
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