Why a simple thing like optimism may be the key to breakthrough!

Why a simple thing like optimism may be the key to breakthrough!

School is out and summer free-time has begun, we have 5 kids under 11 years of age. I came home from work the other night and my kids were almost all angry, they were arguing about petty things and were visibly frustrated. My wife was making dinner and seemed unhappy and distant. I walked up to her and asked her what’s wrong, she then told me about the older kids arguing over the amazon kindle and the younger kids over some toys most of the afternoon. They all had a gripe about one of their siblings. I tried to talk things through with them but all I got was anger and a large dose of pessimism about their siblings.

I sat quiet and just listened as each one listed out their gripes against the other, there was a lot of “she always…”, “he never…” . At the dinner table I asked what everyone wanted to do after dinner. Only one kid said quietly “I don’t know”. There was depression and pessimism after this day of fighting and boredom. I felt it start to come on me but then stopped myself, I can change this.

I reminded them about forgiveness and how its time to forgive one another for the day’s fights. I told them everything is going to be ok. I then told them tonight we are going on a hike in the woods, we are then having a movie night and ice cream. Once that sunk in every one of their demeanor’s began to change. The two youngest changed the moment I spoke with a loud “yay!” The oldest three gradually began to cheer up and talk to one another as optimism about the evening set in, they also started sharing the dreams and hopes that they had for the summer. I stimulated optimism by changing their focus. They began to focus on the fact that they could end these feelings of anger against their siblings. They changed their focus to the fact that we could have a really great evening together.

Optimism is a powerful force on the human mind. Some people are naturally more optimistic than others. Pessimism and optimism can be a mood or can be an long-term intentional mindset. I have noticed repeatedly through the years that optimistic innovators enjoy more long-term career success than do pessimistic ones. I’ve noticed in my own career that pessimism hinders me as I try to be creative and build relationships.

Some Science of Optimism:

Charles Carver and Michael Scheier coined the term ‘dispositional optimism’ to describe their approach – the global expectation that good things will be plentiful in the future and bad things scarce.  They argued that optimism is associated with, and leads to, securing positive outcomes whereas pessimism is associated with greater negative outcomes (Scheier and Carver 1992, Scheier, Carver and Bridges 2001). 

Optimism works with intelligence to super-charge creativity and ingenuity.

Pessimistic leaders of innovation kill creative and innovative teams faster than almost anything I’ve seen. Not only do they send a message of mistrust but they also discourage team members from the hope of being successful in the future. Optimism keeps the creative juices flowing and is often the key to our breakthrough because of how it impacts our long-term performance and outlook.

Every creative or innovative person can cultivate a mindset of optimism by adjusting their focus to the following five truths:

  1. The human mind is the most creative force on the world and we who have a functioning mind have almost unlimited ability, so we have reason to be optimistic.
  2. Past successes give reason to believe success in the future is likely.
  3. Optimism or pessimism are just ways of thinking, very emotional yet they influence the outcome of our daily work.
  4. The power of optimism can be intentionally applied toward certain short-term efforts or projects.
  5. Optimism can not be faked but it can be carefully cultivated.

What are some other ways of becoming more optimistic?

I am excited to announce that I am writing an e-book on the topic of optimism and creativity.

Join my mailing list today to get early bird access to this e-book when it comes out and

if you join now and we will send you our optimism tool-kit pdf for FREE!

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