As I have studied successful people, one of the common traits I find is optimism. Not naive or overdone – just a positive approach to life, leadership, challenges, and what is possible. Those who believe in positive results think the world looks bright. They see the good in things and not just the bad. They carry a smile on their face instead of a frown. Author John Maxwell said, “A pessimist is a person who regardless of the present is disappointed in the future.” An optimist then is a person who regardless of the present is excited about the future.
The world is full of pessimists. We are conditioned to be negative and cynical. I find it interesting that very few people would admit to being negative. They use the excuse that they are “realists” not “pessimists”. The problem with that is reality is based on perception. We create our world and our experiences. Optimists just tends to create better worlds.
My great-grandfather, Donald Bowman, was an optimist. My dad and his brothers helped my great-grandfather build a cabin in Idaho before he died. They worked over a couple of summers and by the end Grandpa Bowman had gone blind due to diabetes. Joking around with him one day, one of the boys asked what he would do if a bear came. Grandpa Bowman smiled and said, “I would run and climb the first tree I ran into.”
People who are optimistic view problems in life as a crossroad and not as a cliff. They see the opportunity for growth not the peril of death. Cultivating an optimistic outlook on life will serve you well.