This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to speak about optimism at a women’s conference. Optimism is believing that things will work out in the end. It is having hope that even in the dark times, things will look up, and the light will come.
Optimism is a skill that can be developed. It is a choice that each one of us can make to look for and find the good around us.
This is not just the perfect Pollyanna type of optimism. Studies have actually found that “perfection optimism” can make you feel more depressed and discouraged. The type of optimism I am talking about is more accurate and credible. This type of optimism openly recognizes difficulty. Life is not without trials and difficulties. We can choose hope, even in the midst of difficulty
I love the story of Thomas Edison. Edison was 67-years-old and trying to develop the storage battery. He was using the money he was making the film industry to research and develop this battery. One night, he heard the tragic cry of “Fire!!”. Eight fire trucks from eight different cities came to try to put the fire out. They were unsuccessful.
Thomas’ son, Charles, was frantically looking for him, certain that he would find his father devastated. Can you imagine? 67-years-old and all your time, effort, and money going up in smoke. When Thomas saw his son, he called out to him: “Where’s your mother? Go get her. Tell her to get her friends. They’ll never see another fire like this as long as they live!”
The next morning, Thomas Edison woke up early and gathered his workers. He stated, “We’re rebuilding. All of our mistakes have been burned up. We can start again.” (story is paraphrased from Charles Edison, “My Most Unforgettable Character,”Reader’s Digest, December 1961, pp. 175–77.)
As Edison is famously known for stating:
What a beautiful way to look at difficulty and failure.
So, here are 10 reasons to choose optimism:
1. Optimists not only feel healthier, they are healthier.
2. They don’t sweat the small stuff and are more able to cope with challenges.
3. They have happier relationships.
4. They enjoy their work more and are more likely to get promoted.
5. Optimists are more persistent. They don’t give up.
6. Optimists regulate emotions more effectively, and experience less anxiety and depression.
7. Optimism is a protective factor against suicide.
8. Optimists live longer.
9. Optimists are more resilient.
10. Optimists report greater life satisfaction and happiness.
What a great list of benefits!
So, are you interested in learning more about optimism? Stick around. I have a post coming about how we can choose optimism and then how we can teach our children about optimism. I hope you’ll join me!
Optimism and gratitude are related. If you liked this post, check out these posts on gratitude: