Optimism and Success

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

These days when I speak to people about optimism, I always get a few comments like, “How can I be optimistic?  I’m worried about losing my job – or I have lost my job.”   “It’s tough to be an optimist today; just look at the economy.”

I agree.  Things are tough right now.  However, getting into a doom and gloom mood is not likely to help them get better anytime soon.  I choose to focus on the bright side.  When I start to get down, I always go back to The Optimist Creed.  I have a copy hanging next to my desk.  If you want a copy that you can frame and hang in your workspace, go to https://budbilanich.com/optimist.

Last week, I came across two articles in the Denver Post on Optimism.  The first was called “Wearing Optimism on Your Sleeve.”  It was a story about “no complaints” bracelets, designed by Will Bowen, a pastor in Kansas City.  He also has written a book called A Complaint Free World

The no complaints bracelets are made of purple rubber.  You wear them on your wrist.  When you find yourself complaining, you switch the bracelet from one wrist to the other.  The idea is to stay positive and optimistic by controlling your thoughts.  Instead of complaining about a situation you don’t like, ask yourself what you can do to change it.  These no complaints bracelets are a wearable version of The Optimist Creed.

Will Bowen really gets it when he says, “One reason people complain is to remove themselves from responsibility.  They are the town crier, and now they’re done.  They don’t have to take an active role in fixing the problem.” 

He’s right, complaining may seem like action, but it isn’t.  You’ve got to act.

That brings me to the second optimism story I saw last week.  It was called, “Reporter Puts Optimism First—and On a T-Shirt.”  Suzanne McCarroll is a TV reporter in Denver.  She has just completed a chemo therapy regimen to treat breast cancer.  She is now cancer free.  She says her cancer experience, “made me appreciate what a nice life most of us have.  If you’re healthy, there’s a world of opportunity to get back on track.”

When she meets people who are complaining about a setback in their lives, she gives them a T-shirt that reads: “Too Blessed To Be Stressed.”  Suzanne is right too.  Most of us are blessed in many ways.  We just forget about our blessings when we get stressed.  I like her idea.  The next time you are feeling stressed, take a minute to think of how much you are blessed.  This will help you regain your sense of optimism.

The common sense point here is simple.  Stuff happens; good stuff, bad stuff, all kinds of stuff.  The stuff isn’t important.  How you react to it is.  Successful people are self confident and optimistic.  They choose to react to tough stuff in a proactive manner.  Will Bowen suggests wearing a bracelet that you move from one wrist to another when you find yourself complaining.  Suzanne McCarroll, a breast cancer survivor, looks to her blessings when she gets stressed.  I read The Optimist Creed.  The important thing is to choose to react positively to the negative stuff in your life.  This will build your self confidence and give you the strength to do what you can to change negative situations.

That’s my take on optimism and personal responsibility.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. Is it true that common sense is not always common?

  2. Thomas:
    Thanks for your comment.
    You bring up an old saying. I think it is partially true.
    I beleive that most people possess a lot of common sense. However, I think that a lot of us don’t always use our common sense. We make excuses like “it’s too hard,” and “I might make somebody angry with me.”
    So we know what to do — our common sense tells us so. But, we don’t do it — for any number of reasons.
    So yes, common sense is common in that we all possess it. It is uncommon in that we often don’t use it.
    Thanks again for your comment.

  3. Optimism is an active, empowering, constructive attitude that creates conditions for success by focusing and acting on possibilities and opportunities. Optimism is the attitude of champions, the fuel of hope, the enemy of despair, and the creator of the future.

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