Optimism vs. Pessimism

So, which one are you? A pessimist or an optimist? Or are you one of those people who think it doesn’t really matter? Let’s define each one first. Pessimists tend to believe the bad things that happen are due to being uncoordinated, dumb, or unlucky, or due to an unfriendly universe. In other words, it’s a permanent and internal condition, it’s who they are, or it’s what they’re doomed to endure.

Optimists tend to believe the bad things that happen are temporary blips on the screen-of-life and are due to the mistakes they make, but it’s NOT who they are. They know that circumstances can be changed next time around and they’re determined to make an adjustment in the future.

They see their environments as favorable.

Experiments show that pessimists are three times more likely to give up, and optimists tend to do better in school, sports, and in business, regardless of talent. In one study, optimistic real estate agents sold 250% to 320% more than pessimistic agents.

Pessimists explain things that happen like this:

“I’m so dumb.” Or, “I always make mistakes like that.”

Optimists are more likely to say:

“I wasn’t thinking on that one.”

Or, “I’m having an off day.”

The big news is that pessimists can learn to be optimists using a simple skill: Learn to argue with yourself! When you hear your brain say something like “I’m so bad at tests”, immediately argue back by reminding yourself of the times you’ve done well. If your brain says, “I always blow it in games”, learn to stand up for yourself by pointing out a fact that proves it’s not true. “I made a great play last week!”

Correct the brain about the lies it tells. Don’t believe everything it says. When you learn the skills of non-negative thinking you’ll become more optimistic and the benefits are huge! Research shows that optimistic people not only win more often, but they are noticeably better under pressure, AND better when they have to overcome obstacles. It’s been said that if we truly understood the power of our brains, we’d never allow ourselves another negative thought.

Nothing good comes from negativity!

Choose to be an optimistic thinker when bad things happen. Remember, this kind of thinking is a choice we make. Use your brain as a powerful friend, not a devious opponent.


 David Benzel
Author & Founder, Growing Champions for Life

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