Hello, and welcome again to another article on our “Be more optimistic” series.
If you haven’t read the previous article, you should go check it out first, so you can understand this topic better:
So far we’ve seen the mental and physical benefits of optimism and the reason why we have to be optimistic in our lives. But in part 3 we’ll see some tips on How to train your brain to be optimistic.
Many people struggle to stay optimistic. After all, there are many reasons to be pessimistic: a tough economy, global competition, a business environment that seems to reward criminals and punish those who tell the truth.
However, your ability to succeed depends largely on your ability to remain optimistic. I’m not talking about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. I’m talking about trusting your ability to cope, no matter what life throws at you”
Pessimists not only missed opportunities, they can’t take advantage of opportunities that fall into their laps. They are so convinced that everything is horrible that they can’t figure out how to make things better.
The real source of optimism: As I mentioned before, everyone has rules used to interpret the meaning of events. Pessimists have rules that make it easy to be miserable and difficult to be happy. (Remember the filter we talked in Be More Optimistic (Part 1)?)
Optimists tend to have rules that do exactly the opposite. Ask optimists what makes them happy? And you’ll hear something like, “Any day I’m alive is a good day” or “All you need for happiness is a smile”
How can we change our filter? Well, the act of developing some habits can help you be more optimistic, try to take the following tips:
1. Write a list of your current “Rules of behavior”:Take a pen and a piece of paper and enter your current “Rules of behavior” (the Rules of behavior are all those things that make you feel in some sort of way), with the following format:
I get sad when the following occurs: (list)
I get happy when the following occurs: (list)
I feel depressed when the following occurs: (list)
Do not make a big project out of it. The accuracy of this exercise is less important than the “feeling” of the rules you put on those lists.
PRO TIP: The first rules that come to your mind are usually the most significant.
2. Consider the results you are getting: Step back for a moment and consider the rules like you’re reading what someone else wrote. Do these rules create an attitude of pessimism or optimism? Do they make it easy to be miserable and hard to be happy? I can almost guarantee that they make it seem like a pessimist person, because, if this were not true, you wouldn’t be interested in doing these exercises in the first place. The reason that you get here is that there’s a part of you that knows that your rules of behavior are bringing more pain than pleasure.
PRO TIP: Take a moment to consider why have you make those rules. In most cases, it’s because you’re afraid to be disappointed. You’ve set a low life expectancy to have an automatic excuse when it fails.
3. Make better rules: Now is the time to get creative. Take a second piece of paper, a few deep breaths, and then ask yourself:
What common events of everyday life might make me happy?
What unusual or rare events could make me feel miserable?
The wording of these questions is important. You are thinking about the possibilities at this time (ie, “I could do”) is not your current reality. Make a list of as many things as possible to the first question.
Keep the second list short, only write really serious things. When finished with your list, write your rules of “optimism” in the following format:
I am happy when [describe event]
I’m sad when [describe event]
Again, the formulation is crucial.
At this point you should have two pieces of paper, in your own handwriting, a documentation of your current rules of “pessimism” and the other documenting the rules of “optimistic” that you would like to believe.
4. Burn the old rules: I am fully aware that this sounds pretty corny. But it works and here is why:
You are a human being. Over the past 125,000 years, one of the defining characteristics of the human being has been the domain of fire. Fire is a part of all religions, the real worship of fire for the use of candles in churches.
The importance of fire is in your DNA, in other words, to burn those old beliefs are reaching deep in your subconscious and manages to tell yourself that these beliefs are not real. They no longer count. The fire has turned them into ashes. And by trashing those ashes means you’re done with that way of thinking.
PRO TIP: Trash those ashes immediately.
5. Post the new rules where you can see them every day: When burning the old rules, you created a void in your mind. Your mind wants to fill that void and It will fill that void over that darkness that you see life every day.
PRO TIP: Post your new rules on your office, right next to the bathroom mirror, your PC or in the kitchen. Wherever. Just make sure that the rules you have written are in your own handwriting, that way your brain will “know” to whom they belong.
If you follow the steps above you will inevitably become more optimistic. You will be happier, healthier and more likely to see the opportunities in life and work, instead of wallowing in the challenges.