Every day you are shaping your legacy. The question is what type do you want, and how big do you want it to be? If you want to leave a big legacy, you need to change the future for the better. In a recent interview, PayPal founder Peter Thiel shared what he feels is needed to do so. More specifically, he discusses the importance of optimism if you want to influence the future. Without optimism there will always be self-doubt; with optimism you push yourself to believe in and shoot for larger goals. What once seemed unimaginable quickly becomes realistic.

As Thiel states, "If you think you can only do very little and be very incremental, then you'll work only on very incremental things. It's self-fulfilling." This relates to the progress principle, which is based on the idea that small progress fosters motivation and fulfillment. This in turn leads to greater subsequent accomplishments.

Here are 12 huge benefits to optimism and the right state of mind. When you operate with optimism you will:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Believe in others
  3. Look for solutions to problems
  4. Display patient urgency
  5. Be confident and courageous
  6. See opportunities where others don't
  7. Become infectious with your positive attitude
  8. Have great creativity and imagination
  9. Inspire others
  10. Be proactive
  11. Have strong enthusiasm
  12. Persist toward your goals

If the above reasons aren't enough to help you shift toward an optimistic mindset, there is even scientific evidence showing that optimists have better physical and mental health and live longer lives. Bear in mind, though, that while optimism is good, blind optimism is not. Optimists recognize that some things are outside of their control. Be in tune with your capabilities and strengths so that you can direct your focus accordingly.