Dictionary.com defines optimism as, “A disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.” Self confident people expect the most favorable outcome – and they are often proved correct.
I came across several quotes about optimism last week. I’d like to share them here…
George Allen’s quote doesn’t mention optimism, but I think it captures its essence. Optimistic people realize that bad stuff happens. They also realize that they have it within their power to choose to react positively and to make good things happen. Like Winston Churchill, they see opportunity in tough times.
I did a talk for the Colorado Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association last Saturday. The talk was titled, “How to flourish, Not Just Survive in These Tough Times.” My goal was to help my fellow alums apply my Four Cs of Success model. I wanted to show them what they could do to ensure that they were least likely to get laid off and most likely to get promoted.
I spent a lot of time discussing self confidence and optimism. I borrowed a page from Dietrich Bonhoffer. I stressed the fact that optimism “is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope…It enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself."
I talked about how facing your fears and acting – even if you fail – can help you hold your head high and claim the future for yourself. Every time you look your fears in the eye and act, you are becoming a more self confident and optimistic person. You are daring to try. Only an optimist can do that.
After the talk, several people approached me to thank me for my words about self confidence and optimism. They said that things had been getting them down lately, and that they were about to give up on some of their dreams. They said that my talk gave them the will to keep on trying and to do whatever they have to do to make their dreams a reality.
The common sense point here is clear. Successful people are self confident. Self confident people are optimistic. They take action, even when they are not sure of the outcome. By facing your fears and acting you become more self confident and optimistic. You become more self confident because you dared to act – something that is not always easy. You become more optimistic if you succeed because you have conquered a personal demon. You become more optimistic even if you fail, because you learn one of the great truths of life – failure is seldom fatal.
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