Notice the Positive
By Tamara Martfeld
Many people are pessimistic or optimistic due to what they observe through life. If what one observes is positive and upbeat, they tend to be optimistic. It what one observes is negative and depressing, they tend to be pessimistic.
For example, look at the following events on a given day: 1) person wakes up refreshed from a good night’s sleep, 2) has breakfast, 3) hits every red light on the way to work, 4) encounters a traffic jam when finally reaching the freeway, 5) is late for work, 6) finishes a six-month-long project before lunch, 7) has lunch, 8) is stuck in a boring, non-productive meeting with several egomaniacs all afternoon, 9) leaves late, 10) misses rush hour traffic due to being late, 11) walks into a restaurant for dinner and gets a free dinner because he is the 500th customer that day and the restaurant is having a celebration, 12) has a great meal, 13) goes home and does housework, 14) reads something enjoyable before bed, and 15) falls asleep quickly to a good night’s sleep.
The pessimist would focus on hitting the red lights, the traffic jam, being late, being stuck in a meeting all afternoon, leaving late, and having to do housework at the end of the day.
The optimist would focus on waking up refreshed, having breakfast, finishing a big project, having lunch, missing rush hour, getting a great and free dinner, accomplishing the housework, enjoying reading before bed, and then being able to fall asleep quickly to a good night’s sleep.
This is frequently the only difference between an optimist and a pessimist. Even though more positive than negative things happened that day, the pessimist will only see the negative and the optimist will see the positive.
To become more optimistic, notice the positive. At the end of each day, write down (or at least acknowledge) at least three good things that happened that day. It is rare not to have them, even if it is something “mundane” such as being able to afford a meal, having a job, or being able to walk. If you can find more than three good things, great! Acknowledge them.
If you have trouble thinking of anything at the end of the day, start being more observant during the day. As something positive happens, write it down and then go over the list at the end of the day. You will likely have several items on your list if you use this method instead of reflecting on your day at its end. If you are truly having trouble finding the positive events, ask your friends and co-workers to help. If you are a very pessimistic person, they will likely want to help you.
As you get in the habit of looking for the positive each day you will find yourself becoming more optimistic. As you become more optimistic, you will likely find that the negative things that happen will not seem as bad as they have been in the past.
Have a wonderful time as your outlook becomes more positive!