“Man is disturbed not by things, but the views he takes of them”. This piece of ancient Greek wisdom is important to keep in mind during today’s trying times. Personal and global events may have significant impact our emotional state, however, the intensity and duration of this impact is greatly determined by the way we think about a particular event. Recent research has concluded that individuals who adopt an “optimistic” way of viewing the world and related events are happier and more successful than their “pessimistic” counterparts. Pessimists see primarily the negative or worst aspects of things and expect only bad or unpleasant things to happen. Pessimists tend to be problem focused. This often creates self fulfilling prophecies which produces the outcome they fear or worse. The optimist on the other hand is the person who expects the best possible outcome or looks for the most hopeful aspects of a situation. Optimists tend to be far better problem solvers because they tend to look for solutions and opportunities for success.Optimism should not be confused w/ being a “Polly Anna” or living in a state of denial during difficult times. Rather, it is the skill of altering thoughts that block happiness and sabotage an individual’s ability to cope with and move beyond difficult times with grace and dignity. Even in the most difficult of times there are individuals who achieve success. Having a personal outlook that promotes growth and well being enhances yo ur chances of personal and professional fulfillment in any time.
Written by: Jeffrey Jabick, LMHC (PTC)
Resource: Book- Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman, Ph.D.