CHARACTERISTICS OF AN OPTIMIST
Winston Churchill defined an optimist as a person who sees the opportunity in every difficulty, instead of the difficulty in every opportunity. Upbeat, self-affirming and indomitable, people with optimistic attitudes typically live longer, healthier and more successful lives than their pessimistic counterparts.
There are several characteristics that will help you identify an optimist when you meet one, or that you can learn to become one yourself.
1. Finding the Good.
When a problem arises for an optimist, the last thing he is prone to do is gnash his teeth and wail about the unfairness of life. On the contrary, an optimist will not only approach the conundrum with a can-do attitude, but will look at the problem as a chance to gain new experiences and opportunities. An optimist may be momentarily daunted by losing her job or moving to a foreign country for work, but she will quickly come to view this as an opportunity to finish the novel she’s been meaning to write or learn new languages and customs. Even if the ideal solution cannot be reached, optimists will find half-measures that enable them to approach the problem in smaller, manageable chunks.
2. Keeping the Good Stuff.
While some optimists may be cheerful and sunny, many optimists are low-key and easygoing. What they have in common is the ability to stay positive, even in trying times. Ask an optimist how his day has been and he will tell you about the funny barista at the coffee shop next to his office and the great deal he found while buying a new shirt. Never mind that the barista got their order wrong, and that the optimist found the new shirt after he spilled the coffee all over his original work attire. Optimists tend to focus on the positive, prioritizing the good events in their life over the negative ones.
3. Seeing Success.
The idea of telling herself that she won’t get the job promotion, or of convincing himself that he won’t find a date for Friday night, simply doesn’t occur to an optimist. Visualizing their success and preparing themselves to succeed are essential qualities of optimists. Negative, self-fulfilling thoughts as to their own inadequacy and worthlessness are not a part of an optimists’ thought processes. Instead, an optimist will tell herself that she will achieve her goals, taking the necessary steps. If an optimist’s plan falls through, she steps back, reassesses the situation, and begins again with a new approach and more self-affirmation.
4. Up for Adventure.
Optimists have been called “happy-go-lucky,” and rarely does an optimist pass up an opportunity for a new and unexpected adventure. This spontaneity is an important characteristic of optimists. An optimist sees spontaneity as a win-win scenario, since he will see something unfamiliar and unplanned as the opportunity to discover new interests, friends and locations. Even if the unplanned goes awry, optimistic people will tell themselves that the stories alone will provide enjoyment for years. This up-for-anything, play-it-by-ear mentality is the sign of a true optimist.
Always be sure to do your best to “keep on the sunny side of life”.