Optimism is the hidden key to your personal and business success. Optimists possess a clear vision of an exciting life, confidently work on goals to achieve their vision, and take self-responsibility. In contrast, pessimists have no clear vision of a fantastic life, and they love to complain, blame, and moan. How can you become more optimistic? I will divulge five little-known “secrets” to help you immediately feel upbeat, confident, and optimistic.
Research: Why Optimism Is Good for You
Tons of research prove that optimists do vastly better than pessimists in their
3. Career success
A growing body of “psychoneuroimmunology” medical research links how a person’s emotions affect his or her health. Some intriguing findings: Optimistic people are less likely to get sick than pessimistic or depressed people. This includes illnesses ranging from common colds to cancer. Optimistic people also get well faster than pessimists.
A fascinating study found that self-made millionaires worry much less than people who earn as much money but have not achieved millionaire status. What is the connection between being optimistic and making yourself into a millionaire? Optimists are much more likely than pessimists to make a goal of achieving millionaire status. They also keep plugging away at being frugal, investing wisely and working hard to turn financial dreams into reality. In contrast, pessimists are less likely to set net-worth goals or consistently take actions to become millionaires.
Many companies use our firm’s Abilities & Behavior Forecaster™ pre-employment tests when choosing applicants. To start, a company has high-achievers take the test. Also, underachievers may take the test. Then, we identify how the high-achievers score, so the company can prefer hiring applicants who score like its profitable, productive employees. Intriguing finding: One of the Forecaster™ test’s 18 scales is Optimism. Typically, high-achievers typically score high on the Optimism test scale, while underachievers score moderate or low on Optimism. This repeated finding verifies that optimists achieve greater career success than pessimists.
So, how can you boost your optimism to achieve greater health, wealth, and career success? Here are seven immediately useful techniques. Each takes only one minute to do, so you can start fast and get results today.
- Straight Posture & Big Steps
Optimistic people use straight posture, walk fast, and take big steps. Pessimistic people slouch, walk slowly, and use small steps. Imagine seeing someone walking with his or her head held high, shoulders back, walking fairly fast with big steps. That person exudes confidence. In contrast, a person whose head and shoulders slouch and walks with slow, small steps reeks a gloomy mood.
Why is a straight posture crucial? Because before you can straighten out your head, you first need to straighten up your body!
- Cheerful Voice
A lightning quick way to feel upbeat is to use a cheerful voice. Think of a time when you felt annoyed. Then, your phone rang. You answered it, and your caller was someone you wanted to impress. I bet you spoke in a cheerful voice so you would impress your caller. Result: You immediately started feeling your mood lift.
Why is a cheerful voice an incredibly powerful optimism tool? Psychological research proved that a person emotionally feels the emotion he or she is acting at the moment. So, if you act cheerful, you feel cheerful. And a cheerful voice is the fastest way to act optimistic.
- Use Upbeat Words
You can use types of words: upsetting and upbeat. Pessimists relish using upsetting words, while optimists excel at using upbeat words. Examples:
For example, a pessimist says, “I have a problem.” In contrast, an optimist would say, “I have an opportunity to do better next time!”
- Use Upbeat Attitudes
I find the chief way to become an optimist simply is to focus on solutions – and not focus on problems. Every time a difficulty pops up, immediately create solutions and put them into action. Examples:
Focus on problems
Dwelling on weaknesses
Thinking about financial woes
Focus on solutions
Dwelling on strengths
Thinking about achieving prosperity
Why is a solution-focus ultra-important? Because you can only have one thought in your head at a time. So, if you focus on solutions, you cannot wallow in problems, complaining, blaming, or moaning.
- Be a Magnificent Role Model
Remember a time you were a role model for someone. As you helped that person, you also helped yourself. As the proverb goes: “What goes around, comes around.” If you are a delightfully optimistic role model for employees, co-workers, family and friends, then you simultaneously make yourself optimistic.
How do you do this? Make sure people see you using straight posture, taking big steps, speaking in a cheerful voice, using upbeat words and focusing on solutions.
- Avoid Emotional Vampires
Are you a loser magnet? Do you attract emotional vampires or losers into your life? To become more optimistic -- avoid emotional vampires. Pessimistic people allow “emotional vampires” to suck their positive feelings right out of their skulls. Emotional vampires include people who put you down, criticize you or mock or sabotage your dreams and aspirations. This week, take survey of your life by making a list of people and situations you are exposing yourself to. Then, discard or limit people, habits or situations that keep you from feeling optimistic and happy. In other words, “burn your bridges” if needed. Remember: Happy and optimistic people hang around with personal cheerleaders. Unhappy people surround themselves with emotional vampires.
- Optimism and Happiness by the Numbers
Are you obsessed with negative thoughts? A simple way to become optimistic is to count your way to more positive thoughts. It’s easy to become an expert at switching your negative and bad thoughts to more positive and upbeat thoughts and feelings. So, your assignment is to focus on counting and switching your bad thoughts to upbeat and uplifting thoughts. Each time you have a negative thought, immediately switch to a positive thought or solutions to your woes. Write a tally mark on a pad of paper each time you switch like this each day. Your goal is to decrease the number of times you need to switch. For example, at first you may need to switch 50 times. In time, you will decrease it to 30, 20 or 10 times a day. If you are obsessively negative, you will become obsessively positive using this technique.
Maryann Troiani, Psy.D., is a speaker, media personality and consultant with The Mercer Group, Inc., in Barrington, Illinois. She delivers speeches and workshops at meetings and conferences. She co-authored the book, SPONTANEOUS OPTIMISM: Proven Strategies for Health, Prosperity & Happiness. Dr. Troiani has tele-coached many people across the country with her optimism and change-your-life techniques. You can email her at
or phone her at (847) 382-0690.