Choose to be Optimistic

Self confidence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become self confident, you need to do three things: 1) Be optimistic; 2) Face your fears and act; and 3) Surround yourself with positive people.

When I do talks on career and life success, I get the most challenges on my views on optimism.  I have found that there are a lot of cynics out there who see optimism as a naïve world view.

Here’s a couple of examples.  A couple of weeks ago, I saw an on line article by Brian Tracy called “Practice Negative Optimism” – an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen on.  The body of the article took a more tempered approach, encouraging readers to think through the potential positive and negative consequences of decisions before they make them.

Then I saw a quote on optimism from Ambrose Bierce that got me thinking about the pessimists and naysayers again. 

“Optimism: The doctrine or belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly; everything is good, especially the bad; and everything right that is wrong.” 

No wonder ole’ Ambrose was nicknamed was “Bitter Bierce.”

Let me put an optimistic spin on Ambrose’s quote:

“Optimism: The belief that the ugly can become beautiful; the bad, good; and the wrong, right.”

Optimists don’t believe that everything is great and the world is perfect.  We do believe however, the world can and will be a better place – if we work to make it so.

Many of you have requested a copy of The Optimist Creed suitable for framing from me.  I hope it has helped you as much as it has helped me.  For those of you who haven’t seen it in its entirety, here is The Optimist Creed…

  • Promise Yourself:
    • To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
    • To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
    • To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
    • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
    • To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
    • To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
    • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
    • To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
    • To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
    • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Call me naïve, but I believe if you live by these words and follow this common sense advice, you will not only become a more self confident and optimistic person, you will become a success in your life and career.

If you want a copy of The Optimist Creed that you can frame and hang in your office or workspace, please send an email to with the words “Optimist Creed” in the subject line.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are self confident.  Optimism will enhance your self confidence.  Optimists see the positive in our world.  We also see the potential for making the world a better place.  In the 1968 presidential campaign Bobby Kennedy paraphrased George Bernard Shaw, my favorite playwright, when he said, “Some men see things as they are and ask, ‘why?’ I dream things that never were and ask, ‘why not?’”  That’s an optimist’s view of the world – and one that will help you succeed in your life and career.  Stay positive and optimistic.


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  1. I am an optimist. Every morning I rise and first consider what my competition can do to overcome my work at my properties and at and to weaken the success fo
    Immediately after this, I consider what I can do to overcome the competition.
    I find the contest invigorating and rise stimulated everytime.
    Optimism is not being rosy… Its striving for and believing in a better result than the one available.
    Blake Ratcliff

  2. Wow. Wow. I love your unabashed optimism. It’s refreshing and I agree 100% with your spin on Bierce’s quote. I think it is less “sexy” to be optimistic than pessimistic, brooding, cynical. I’m not a Pollyanna but I do tend (not always…geez, I’m human) to see the best in people particularly.
    Lovely. I’ll be tracking back but can’t right this moment.

  3. Kelly:
    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it. Yes — it is less sexy to be an optimist, but it pays off in the long run. Pessimists seldom accomplish very much.
    All the best,

  4. Friendly Greetings from Japan!
    May I offer you a 5-star rave to your consistent blogs as above!
    It’s amazing you constantly apply what you preach as the “5 Common Sense” approach to whatever topic you coose to write up on, and deliver your good sense, really!
    It’s a pleasure for me, someone here in Japan to be able to read up on your energizing and uplifting pieces fully covering your 5-Common Sense wisdom.
    Keep on doing, will ya?! And, thanks for your great efforts as ever,
    KyariKon, Japan Member Coach, ICF
    A Curious Mind

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