REFLECTION: If there was ever a time that called for optimism, this could be it. The media brings daily reports of disaster or potential disaster, and it can be a challenge to hold an optimistic outlook in the face of layoffs and nose-diving markets
That’s probably why Price Pritchett’s book, Hard Optimism, called to me from the bookstore shelves. It’s an easy read – and Pritchett does a good job of positioning optimism as a not so secret weapon in creating a much more positive future.
Just how powerful can an optimistic outlook be? Pritchett contrasts two studies – one of which shows how not smoking increases life expectancy by 7 years, while the other shows that living positively and optimistically increases life expectancy by 10 years. Who knew? Perhaps promoters of optimism are not just blowing smoke!
Pritchett is not simply about thinking more positively and hoping all will be well. He recommends investing energy in recognizing and challenging pessimistic thoughts that roll through our minds.
How do you recognize pessimistic thinking? Be on the lookout for thoughts and conversations that could be classified as concerns, complaints, commiserations, criticisms, and catastrophizing – all of which plant the seeds of pessimistic thought.
ACTION: When you encounter any of those five C’s, recognize the pattern, and counter with a hit of optimistic thinking.
Chances are pretty good that a lot of our catastrophes are actually temporary situations, limited in impact, and nowhere near as pervasive as we make them out to be.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it – despite the current balance showing on my RRSP statement! 🙂
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “No sense being pessimistic. Wouldn’t work anyway.” – Bumper sticker
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Hard Optimism – How To Succeed In A World Where Positive Wins – by Price Pritchett. 2007. McGraw Hill.
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s Permission To Pause, JK writes: “Your timing is excellent! With holidays looming there are meals to plan, presents to buy, gifts to wrap, trees to trim, sidewalks to shovel, decorations to put up, cards to write and send. More people need to give themselves permission to pause; to reflect on all the gifts they have given to others that did not require a lot of money, if any at all. The gifts? Their attention and time. Time to really talk to someone, to learn about them. This is the one gift that anyone can give any time of the year. Time. So why not give yourself the gift of time – time to pause. Make it your S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) to take a break, to pause from the hustle and bustle of everyday living each and every day. It takes only a few minutes and you will find yourself less stressed and more focused. “