How to Be an Optimist
“Frankly Robin, your optimism makes me uncomfortable.” I smiled at my client as she proceeded to tell me why she wasn’t sure I was the right coach for her.
“No one who is as happy and calm as you could have ever gone through anything like I have, you can’t understand how hard it’s been”. She proceeded to tell me once again about all of the bad things that had happened in her life.
I continued smiling, visibly unmoved.
“See, I just told you I may not want to work with you anymore and you don’t show any sign of stress….”
“I’m sorry you feel like this.” I said still wearing the same smile and I reached out and took her hand.
“ See, my job as a coach is not to wallow with you in your story but be the arm reaching down to pull you up and out. How could I do that if I wasn’t calm and optimistic for you and the future you can create for yourself?”
The truth is I couldn’t be any other way. I explained to my client that I don’t let life circumstances change how I feel about life in general and she didn’t have to either. The happiest people I know have been through some of the toughest stuff they just choose to be positive.
I’ve always been an optimist. It’s who I am. At times my joie de vivre has been seen as naïve and unrealistic. But, let me set the record straight. I understand there is darkness and bad things that happen in our world. I know there are many problems in the world which we aren’t even close to solving but I’m wired to see the good, the possibility in every situation. Even it wasn’t my nature it would be my choice and it’s a choice you can make too.
The truth is science is showing us that optimistic people have superior emotional health and have overall less stress. When faced with challenges they can see the possible good that can come out of it. Researchers like Martin Seligman have found that optimists also have superior physical health, are more persistent and have increased longevity of 8 to 10 years.
Sounds pretty good huh? And, guess what, If you don’t come by it naturally there are a few things you can do to develop the trait:
1. Identify your negative thoughts/limiting beliefs and do the work on them. Learn how here.
2. Exercise Every Day – Yes, it’s good for your body, mind and spirit!
3. Start a Gratitude Journal. Write down at least 3 things you are grateful for each day. Challenge yourself to make them different each day.
4. Hang out with positive people (Call me we’ll do lunch!)
5. Curate your instagram feed with encouraging, positive and motivatingaccounts that can cheer you on anywhere you are.
Optimism isn’t about being oblivious to the bad stuff. That’s denial. Optimism is a trait that defines how you interpret and think about yourself and the world around you. It is about knowing how much control you have in a situation and expecting a good outcome as you take steps to do what you can.
Is your glass half empty or half full? The choice is yours.
ROBIN MCALLISTER ZAAS IS A LIFE COACH IN COLUMBUS, OHIO.
She focuses on weight loss in a new way that breaks the typical "dieting" mold. With products like Not Your Sister's Diet, Robin can help you discover a healthy relationship with food and most importantly—with yourself. To kickstart your (re)self-discovery journey, try Robin's free Coach In My Pocket for daily inspiration that will encourage you to be born brave again. (Hint: You were always born brave.)