The Neuroscience of Optimism

My career mentoring clients know that I am a big believer in the power of optimism.  This is my first post of 2015 and I figured that there is no better place to begin than with optimism.

Over the holidays I came across an article on the neuroscience of optimism.  Check it out…

I like the idea of your inner dialogue — how you explain situations to yourself, and how optimists and pessimist differ.

I particularly like the third point — Take responsibility for your failures.

Tweet 21 in Success Tweets says, “You’re in charge! Commit to taking personal responsibility for creating the life and career success you want and deserve.”  That includes taking responsibility for your failures.

You demonstrate your commitment to your career success – to yourself and to the world – by doing three things. First, take personal responsibility for your career success. Only you can make you a career success. You must be willing to do the things necessary to succeed. Second, set high goals – and then do whatever it takes to achieve them. Third, stuff happens; as you go through life you will encounter many problems and setbacks. You need to react positively to the negative stuff and move forward toward your goals, dreams and career success.

Several years ago I came across a book on stress management that suggest that you can get S M A R T  about managing the stress that comes with failure.

  • S — Smash the negative.
  • M — Maximize the positive.
  • A — Act
  • R — Relax
  • T  — Target your next action.

Stuff happens as you go through life; positive stuff, negative stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, frustrating stuff failure. The important thing is not what happens, but how you react to it. In other words, smash your negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity. Maximize the positive in your life by creating positive habits and routines. When something goes well, take the time to celebrate. You deserve it.

But when things don’t go so well, when you fail, remember the fourth principle in the article — keep failure in perspective.  Choose to see it as little more than a bump in the road to success.  Find the lesson in what happened and use it to target your next action.

So in 2015 do yourself a favor.  Avoid negative self talk.  Don’t take failure personally.  Treat it as a temporary event.  Take personal responsibility for figuring out why you failed — and what you can learn from the experience.  Do these three things and you’ll be on the road to the career success you deserve.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can join the thousands of success minded professionals who are benefiting from the career advice in Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  Simply go to and enter your contact information.  I’ll send you both books right away.   I’ll also give you a free membership in my career mentoring sire and begin sending you daily motivational quotes.


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