Do you think there’s a relationship between optimism and productivity?
YES, of course!
The more optimistic you feel about your business, about your relationships and whatever you are trying to achieve, the more focused and productive you are going to be.
What Is Optimism?
Optimism is not inherited, or it is not based on a genetic makeup, but it is a SKILL that can be learned.
Dr. Martin Seligman, a University of Pennsylvania professor adopted this idea of “learned optimism” and actually wrote a book about it.
The happier and optimistic you are the higher quality of work you are going to produce.
That’s true! That’s worth repeating!
Your mood determines the quality of work you are going to have.
Have you tried to work at your higher-self? Do you remember how much more work you’ve done in contrast to feeling moody and awkward?
We are not often conscious (or aware) of the way we feel and the impact this might have on our activities, but you have to start noticing those things.
Your current state of mind has A LOT to do with the performance you have on whatever activity you get involved in.
That’s because in the way you feel is associated with the quality of your emotions, which makes your work more enjoyable and fulfilling.
If there’s an “ugly task” you do not like, but have to do in order to move forward, we tend to procrastinate, because we do not like doing those things.
When you feel optimistic, you are going to do ugly tasks more smoothly, without having a lot of friction and inner drives to postpone those activities.
Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies to productivity. But you can kill it with INTENTIONALLY driven optimism.
How to do this?
Get Dr. Seligman’s book “Learned Optimism” to learn how!
In short, I am going to give you different tips that I personally use to get more optimistic. They are not the foundation of becoming more optimistic, but they may definitely guide and give you some practical steps to consider.
17 Ways To Be More Optimistic
1) Stop watching the news – have you noticed that most of the news on TV is negative, exclusive and bothering. They are simply designed to get your attention.
People are more likely to pay attention to something that’s going to hurt them than something that’s going to help them. That’s psychology.
Reporters, journalists and producers who make the news know that you are going to be more alert (or glued) to the TV screen like a zebra when a lion approaches you for breakfast.
I mean let’s face it; we do not watch the news so that we can keep up with “the world,” we simply pay attention to the things that may hurt us so that we can avoid them from seeing those “horror stories” and be more cautious.
Have you asked yourself, “What this does to your psyche?”
The more negative patterns, events and thoughts we put in our head, the LESS OPTIMISTIC we are going to be.
We tend to establish boundaries to the rest of the world, because we are afraid of experiencing what happened on TV. This does not only cause us to close ourselves, but also we tend to be more negative.
Optimistic people do not watch the news. I personally know people who do not even have a TV at home. This might be a little extreme for some folks, but in reality, if you try to live without the news for 2-3 months, you are going to find your life more fulfilling.
You are simply going to be more productive at your work.
2) Do not think in problems, think in solutions – most people get caught up in problems, and getting obsessed by them.
So they circle around with the idea of “chasing a problem.” When you do this, you are going to be less optimistic, because problems have a negative connotation.
Chasing problems is counter-productive. There’s usually a difference between chasing a problem and fixing it.
When you think in the fixing part, you are thinking in solutions.
3) View life as a journey, not a destination – often, it is not about the end result. It is about what happens before the final result.
How much time you found yourself watching the same movie over and over again? You know how it is going to end, right? So, why are you watching it?
Because of the way it makes you feel, experience or just being on a journey.
A journey entails an adventure, something exciting, unknown to us. That’s one of the reasons why we want change. On the journey, we are filled with optimism and willingness to bring change, positive expectancy.
If you view “having an online business” as a journey, you are going to be more optimistic about it.
That’s the best attitude to carry on in hard times and failures, while enduring pain. They are part of life, and you simply want to meet them with positive expectations.
4) Be present – most people tend to live either in the future or the past. The past often brings the emotions of guilt and grief.
The emotions of the future bring fear, jealousy and an anxiety.
Optimism lives only in the now, in the moment. We cannot experience optimism in the past or the future. It is an emotion that requires us to be always present.
5) Hang out with positive people – the people you surround yourself determine your overall quality of life.
Since optimism is a learned skill, the best way to learn it is through others. You have to notice how positive people deal with day-to-day interactions, handling problems, etc.
You become who you surround yourself with.
Often, we might keep a distance from optimistic people, because we are not used to their state of mind. It can make us comfortable at first.
But once you decide to study them and observe their behaviors, all the thoughts they are having, you are simply going to understand “their reality.”
6) Affirmations – sometimes affirmations do not work, because when you say to yourself, something that’s a lie, the mind automatically rejects it as a result of previous conditioning or experience.
But when you INTENT to do an affirmation is different. Let me explain!
If you are not happy, frustrated all the time, when you say to yourself, “I am a happy person,” the inner dialogue is going to say, “No, you aren’t!”
When you say to yourself, “I am intent to be happy or live a better life,” then there are no internal conflicts associated with that thought.
The more you feed yourself with things you want to acquire or achieve in life; eventually, every lie is going to become a solid belief of a possibility. When you do this, your level of optimism is going to increase dramatically.
7) Chasing dreams – most people get jobs they do not like, get involved in relationships, they are not happy with, and do things that aren’t fulfilling for them.
Going after your dreams require courage. When you do it though, you are going to be more optimistic, because you are going to be inspired enough to keep going, until you get there.
Dreams touch your CORE VALUES. When you do what you want to achieve in life, you are going to have a sense of purpose that’s going to make you more attractive to other people and also be more productive at your work.
How to start? What’s your passion? Write down what you are really good at doing.
If you do not know your passion, get involved in various activities and see which one fulfills you the most. This requires you to get out of the comfort zone and explore your possibilities.
8) Laugh or have fun – if you are trying to be too serious, you are going to lose touch with your emotions.
Emotions are your fuel to get things going. They are the reason why you are doing what you are doing.
Being more open emotionally is going to open the gates to more optimistic life.
You might also get hurt ones in a while, but that’s how you get emotional strength along the way.
Watch often comedies; try to fulfill your needs as much as you can. This is going to give you the “emotional leverage” you need to get things done.
9) You have a choice – some people get trapped into the scarcity mindset of “there’s not enough” or “it is impossible to do” which clouds their thinking, decisions and emotions.
When we feel like there’s no choice, negative temptations come as a result. Often, we might get angry and resentful. That’s because if we think that we do not have a choice, we set subconscious limits to ourselves of what’s possible and what’s not.
Therefore, all limitations we have are set by ourselves.
You ALWAYS have a choice to live a better life, and I do not care about what’s your background, in what country you are in, or what’s your childhood.
We all can raise and do something extraordinary with our lives.
When you have this notion of “you have a choice” you are going to be freer and optimistic to try new things, experiment new ways, and test different opportunities.
10) Expect setbacks – this might be a little counter-intuitive when it comes to optimism. That’s because setbacks, problems and issues have negative connotations.
However, you KNOW that you can’t be always in the same mood. We are dynamic beings, and our emotions are like the weather, constantly changing.
When a setback comes, and if you expect it, it is not going to affect your state of being as much as if was unexpected.
This is when you are mentally preparing yourself for some worse scenario to happen. Often, it does not happen, but it set your psyche in a way that can give you more assertiveness and confidence to get things done.
Bad moods are part of life, but this does not mean they destroy optimism. They can make your optimism stronger only when you expect them to happen.
So expect failures, and see what can go wrong. Most people do not want to consider the “bad things,” they are simply scared to admit them as a possibility.
11) Task completion – when we complete a task, we get a certain sense of accomplishment. Our brain releases the hormone “endorphin” which is widely known as the “drug of happiness.”
When you tackle big tasks, you are going to be more optimistic about the future of that project. This is going to engage you to make things happen even further.
12) The world is not against you – if you think that the system we live today is set against you (politics, businesses, etc.) and if you assume that you have no choice to change that, you are going to be in a very destructive state of mind.
You have to remember that what helps some people harms others. Even if a system (political, financial, etc.) favors some individuals, and you happen not to be one of them, you have to know your options.
In most cases, you have options to get out of the “rat race” like Robert Kiyosaki used to say.
The rat race is the place where we get trapped into doing the same things over and over again, but expecting somehow different results.
There’s abundance of opportunities to get a better lifestyle, whatever that means to you.
Never think of having no options or the game is set against you, because you can always turn the things around for yourself as long as you open your mind and look for different ways to make it happen.
13) Having faith – most people lose their hope very easily. That’s why they aren’t optimistic and see things clearly.
Being an optimist is a mind game. When you have hope in whatever you are trying to achieve, you’ll get much further than most people.
How do you get hope?
By knowing the process of reaching your desired outcome. If you know how to get from point A to point B, you’ll have more hope in getting to point B, because you KNOW HOW.
More knowledge often translates in more hope to get things done. Remember that knowledge without action or implementation is meaningless.
14) Sense of self-control – when you have this attitude of “I can handle whatever life brings me,” it is going to serve you well.
Sometimes we do not have control over the things that are happening around us, but we can establish a little more control over ourselves.
When you fight the impulses of neediness, weakness and powerlessness, you are going to have more sense of optimism about yourself.
This takes practice.
15) You are the cause, not the effect – if you see yourself as the effect of whatever is happening around you, you are in a victim mode.
When you are in a victim mode, you are usually less optimistic. Let me give you an example.
“My employees’ incompetency’s led to $100,000 loss in profits.”
“The government seized my assets.”
In those examples, you are the effect or the victim.
When you see yourself as the cause of the problems, you are less likely to do them in the future, even if you assume that they might not be directly related to you.
You should not blame yourself either. All you have to do is to acknowledge the fact that you create your own life as you go along.
All mistakes, problems and challenges are inevitable part of that creation. That’s why you have to be strong to handle whatever life brings you to meet those challenges.
When you play the role of the “cause,” you are going to be more optimistic, because you have a sense of direction and adjustment to learn from those mistakes.
16) Creating a sense of urgency – if you constantly remind yourself that life is short, and every minute counts. You create this sense of urgency.
How’s that playing a role to more optimistic life?
When we are in a negative mode or pessimists, we tend to dwell upon things. We worry about things that did not happen yet; it yields indecision and simply wastes your time.
Sense of urgency gives you the rhythm to get things done. It is another form of optimism, because this is when we tend to be more productive.
17) Give more – most people go in life, trying to extract value from the world. They are usually not optimists, because of having a scarcity mindset.
Optimists find abundance, and they give first, without expecting anything in return. They KNOW that if they do not get concerned about rewards and gold, what they give shall be received tenfold.
Concern about money or monetary compensations in the giving is damaging. If you give more, the more optimistic you are going to be.
What can you give?
You may give knowledge, education, sympathy, attention, love and friendship.
To learn more about optimism, get Prof. Seligman’s book Learned Optimism.