Be an Optimist at All Times

Everyone wants to be physically healthy. You want to be mentally healthy as well. The true measure of “mental fitness” is how optimistic you are about yourself and your life. Learn how to control your thinking in very specific ways so that you feel terrific about yourself and your situation, no matter what happens.

Control Your Reactions and Responses
There are three basic differences in the reactions of optimists and pessimists. The first difference is that the optimist sees a setback as temporary, while the pessimist sees it as permanent. The optimist sees an unfortunate event, such as an order that falls through or a sales call that fails, as a temporary event, something that is limited in time and that has no real impact on the future. The pessimist, on the other hand, sees negative events as permanent, as part of life and destiny.

Isolate the Incident
The second difference between the optimist and the pessimist is that the optimist sees difficulties as specific, while the pessimist sees them as pervasive. This means that when things go wrong for the optimist, he looks at the event as an isolated incident largely disconnected from other things that are going on in his life.

See Setbacks as Temporary Events
For example, if something you were counting on failed to materialize and you interpreted it to yourself as being an unfortunate event, but something that happens in the course of life and business, you would be reacting like an optimist. The pessimist, on the other hand, sees disappointments as being pervasive. That is, to him they are indications of a problem or shortcoming that pervades every area of life.

Don’t Take Failure Personally
The third difference between optimists and pessimists is that optimists see events as external, while pessimists interpret events as personal. When things go wrong, the optimist will tend to see the setback as resulting from external factors over which one has little control.

If the optimist is cut off in traffic, for example, instead of getting angry or upset, he will simply downgrade the importance of the event by saying something like, “Oh, well, I guess that person is just having a bad day.”

The pessimist on the other hand, has a tendency to take everything personally. If the pessimist is cut off in traffic, he will react as though the other driver has deliberately acted to upset and frustrate him.

Remain Calm and Objective

The hallmark of the fully mature, fully functioning, self-actualizing personality is the ability to be objective and unemotional when caught up in the inevitable storms of daily life. The superior person has the ability to continue talking to himself in a positive and optimistic way, keeping his mind calm, clear and completely under control. The mature personality is more relaxed and aware and capable of interpreting events more realistically and less emotionally than is the immature personality. As a result, the mature person exerts a far greater sense of control and influence over his environment, and is far less likely to be angry, upset, or distracted.

Take the Long View
Look upon the inevitable setbacks that you face as being temporary, specific and external. View the negative situation as a single event that is not connected to other potential events and that is caused largely by external factors over which you can have little control. Simply refuse to see the event as being in any way permanent, pervasive or indicative of personal incompetence of inability.

Resolve to think like an optimist, no matter what happens. You may not be able to control events but you can control the way you react to them.

Action Exercises
Now, here are three actions you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, remind yourself continually that setbacks are only temporary, they will soon be past and nothing is as serious as you think it is.

Second, look upon each problem as a specific event, not connected to other events and not indicative of a pattern of any kind. Deal with it and get on with your life.

Third, recognize that when things go wrong, they are usually caused by a variety of external events. Say to yourself, “What can’t be cured must be endured,” and then get back to thinking about your goals.

Click below for another blog post on positivity:

Mind Power: Words of Wisdom for Positive Thinking

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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  • Akarsh

    Dear Tracy,

    Thank you once again for a very useful and motivational article.
    The best thing to do is to put sincere efforts in the direction of our dream and see the outcome without giving any personal meaning. Only efforts is in our hands the result depends on many other factors.
    It reminds me of a quote – “SUCCESS GIVES US HAPPINESS, FAILURE GIVES US EXPERIENCE – BOTH ARE IMPORTANT FOR LIFE.”

  • http://spiritualvitality.net Muzaffar Sultan

    Thanks Brian for this excellent article. What I’ve found is that people are conditioned to see only empty glass. When any bad thing happened, people reacts to see only bad consequences. We have to recondition ourself to see water in the glass. You have addressed this point in “Control Your Reactions and Responses”. Thanks!

  • yoana

    Dear Mr .Tracy,
    All your advice ,and articles are for me the way that help me to stay focus ,every time i read them i realized i,am more optimist after i read them more clear about the situations i,am in !you are for me the person that when i need an advice i read a late about your articles and then i start to act ,to think,and learn

  • http://fibolife.com Manfred Kramer

    I really love this article. It gives great information as well as great advice on quite fundamental issues that affect all aspects of life. Attitude is everything. Positive = Success! Negative = Failure. It’s as simple as that.

  • http://www.thecourierguy.co.ke Abdirahman Bashir

    Another great article. Patience, optimism and resilience are key ingredients to success.

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