How to Be Consistently More Optimistic
My new book, Business Without The Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need To Know is being published this week, so my posts are condensed excerpts from it.
If you truly want to be successful, it's in your best interest to create and maintain a positive attitude. When you've got an attitude of optimism, expectancy, and enthusiasm, opportunities grow and problems shrink. Here's how it's done:
1. Begin each day with expectation.
Your experience in life generally lives up (or down) to your expectations, so when you rise from bed, make your first thought: "Something wonderful will happen today." Your day might not proceed in the manner you'd prefer, but you keep looking for something positive, you'll find it.
2. Assume other people mean well.
Attributing other people's weird behaviors to evil motives adds extra misery to life, while assuming good intentions leaves you open to reconciliation. You can't read minds and you don't have everyone wired to a lie detector. Truly you have no idea what anyone is really thinking or why people do what they do. In most cases people are doing the best they can with the resources they've got, so always give people the benefit of the doubt.
3. Avoid depressing conversations.
It's wasting your breath to argue about things, such as religion and politics, that get people all riled up. When such topics surface, bow out. Some battles aren't worth fighting, and many people are easier to handle when they think they've won the argument. At work, what's important isn't winning arguments, but what must be done to move forward.
4. Let go of your results.
Once you've taken action, there's nothing more you can do, so focus on the job at hand rather than some fantasy of what might happen if things go wrong. The nature of the physical universe is change so whether you're celebrating or mourning or something in between, remember that this too will pass.
5. Improve the quality of your life.
At least once a day, try to eat something really delicious, such as a small chunk of fine cheese or an imported chocolate. Focus on it; taste it; savor it. Then use that experience as a model for enjoying all the little pleasures in life. Remember: the quality of your experience in life is always in how you're perceiving it!
6. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
Successes in your life, small and large, deserve recognition. Don't move on to the next task or goal without celebrating, even if only by patting yourself on the back. Give a verbal gift to everyone you meet--a smile, a word of encouragement, a gesture of politeness, or even a friendly nod. And say "Thank you" more frequently.
7. Focus on the future.
While you can and should learn from the past, keep your thoughts on the future. Always believe that the best is yet to come. When my grandmother was in her seventies, she returned to college, traveled across Europe in youth hostels, and learned Japanese painting. The last thing she told me was, "You know, Geoffers, life begins at ninety."
Shortcut: Becoming optimistic
- EXPECT something wonderful to happen every day.
- DON'T try to read minds; treat people as you'd want to be treated.
- DON'T waste breath fighting about things you can't change.
- CONCENTRATE on the job at hand, not the results you seek.
- TAKE better control of the pleasures in your life.
- BE thankful for every day and every accomplishment, yours and others'.
- REMEMBER that the best is yet to come.
Excerpted from the book BUSINESS WITHOUT THE BULLSH*T by Geoffrey James. © 2014 by Geoffrey James. Reprinted by permission of Business Plus. All rights reserved.
Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.