How to be more optimistic when things are not going your way?
Often times we have visions of a bright and beautiful future but many a time we get stuck in this infinite loop of depression and helplessness when things are really not going as per our plan.
Faced this situation?
I know it’s tough, because I have been thru such struggles in my life and business, and thought I’d share a few ways to keep things going forward in your life too.
Optimism is a skill that needs to grow into your DNA and outlook of life.
What Does Optimism Really Look Like From The Inside?
Optimism is the fundamental quality of champions.
Imagine what it would be if you were an Olympic Gold medalist?
What it looks like from the inside?
Imagine all that work, tiredness, failures, practices and times in your career where there was a sense of hopelessness?
What if you had given up on any one of those incidents?
You really CANNOT GIVE UP if you want to win that GOLD Medal on an Olympic stage.
The same goes for life.
You are going to be tested, kicked and shown different ways by which you logically have to quit!
And optimism is probably your only way out of that situation to getting your GOLD medal in life.
“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right!” – Henry Ford
The common notion is that “seeing is believing”.
The case with optimism is that you’ve got to believe first, and then you will see.
It all starts with self-belief.
How “Learned Helplessness” Cripples Us
While we learn about how to be more optimistic, we also need to understand some underlying psychological aspects such as ‘learned helplessness’ which cripples us and kicks in that pessimistic side.
Experiment 1 – Puppy In A Cage
Here’s an experiment that I read recently on how a few psychologists studied the concept of ‘learned helplessness’.
Phase 1 – First, they placed a little puppy in a cage. The floor was electrically charged and they wet the puppy’s feet so that everytime the puppy stood up it would give mild shocks to the puppy.
The cage was also protected on all sides with high walls, so the puppy could not escape our jump out at any time.
So these psychologists gave mild shocks to the puppy by pressing a button, and every time the puppy started to bark or tried to escape, the shock therapy continued. It could not jump out
Initially, the puppy tried to escape but eventually, after many shocks, this puppy simply lay down and endured all those shocks – giving up on itself.
Phase 2 – In the next phase of the experiment, they brought in a new puppy and put it in a slight different cage.
It was a cage in which there were 3 high walls and 1 short wall, just high enough for the puppy to escape.
Just as they started to give the same shock treatment to this new puppy, it quickly jumps over the low wall and escapes out of the cage.
Phase 3 – This is the interesting part of the experiment.
They bring back the old puppy which went thru Phase 1, and put this puppy in a cage which had 3 high walls and 1 short wall, where it actually had a chance to escape.
Once they started to give the mild shock treatment to this puppy, it continues to lie down and endure the shocks, helplessly, presuming that it could not escape anymore.
This is a classic example of “learned helplessness”.
Many times we go thru struggles in life, and we get into this ‘helpless’ state where even though they may be a probable opportunity for us to move to a better life, we continue to remain in the same state of ‘learned helplessness’, enduring all the negativity around us. This is a very important lesson on how to be more optimistic.
Experiment 2 – Tied Baby Elephant
You might have heard about the experiment of a baby elephant being tied to a pole.
During the younger years, the baby elephant found it hard to pull itself out of the pole.
But later on, when the same elephant was tied to a pole when grown up, the elephant still believed that it could not pull itself out of the pole.
Where in reality, we know how a big elephant has the power to even uproot trees, what to speak of poles?
This is another experiment to prove that many of our past experiences in life tie us down into believing that we do not have the power or potential to reach our goals – whatever it may be!
The fundamental aspect of how to be more optimistic is to realize that our past does not equal to our future.
We have the power to make strong decisions to move to a more positive situation.
It is this PERSISTENCE that makes you a winner. Even though most of what you try may fail in the short term perspective, but you keep trying and coming back at it, that’s what will take you to the finish point. This is a way to be optimistic.
15 Practical Tips On How To Be More Optimistic In Life
- Live one day at a time – stop worrying about the future!
- Pay attention to your personal goals and needs. Give that priority.
- Let go of things that drain your energy. That includes people, environments and habits.
- Put more positive things into your mind. Make it a daily routine.
- Remind yourself that you always have choices in life. Don’t get stuck.
- Indulge in your passions. If you love music, spend more time in things you love.
- Find and associate more with positive people. Maybe even change your group of friends.
- Get all that negativity building inside, out of your system.
- Write down your 101 dreams. Start dream chasing.
- Plan for the down-days. Not every day is going to be sunny and bright.
- Appreciate and value the simple pleasures of life. Taking a walk, appreciating nature, etc.
- Write a journal of all those ‘feel good’ moments. Will help you quickly snap out of any negativity.
- Get moving, as physical fitness and physical activities kick in those endorphins which help in keeping your mind more positive and focused.
- Laughter helps. Add humour to your life and keep your heart light and happy.
- Get inspired by reading, listening and watching movies that inspire you.
So how to be more optimistic? Start living life more consciously and implementing some of these points mentioned above.
Final Thoughts – How To Be More Optimistic
Is being too optimistic being arrogant? How does this relate to self-esteem? Does being pessimistic at times help?
“Be a long-term optimist & a short-term pessimist.”
Now, this may sound a bit radical after sharing all those examples, but practically speaking, we really cannot be an optimist 100% of the time. That will make you crazy.
You have to believe that whatever you do now will help you in the long run.
But it’s ok to be a pessimist in the short-term and critically analyze all your daily actions.
It’s ok to feel that whatever you do daily may or may not work. This will encourage you to do a particular action at least 5-6 times before you see success.
YES, this will help you in being a high-performance individual in every aspect of your life.
Put rituals in place so you perform at a high level – physically, emotionally, relationships, business, contributions and create a healthy reputation about yourself in your own eyes and then believe you can do even better in future.
So, IMAGINE YOURSELF AS THAT ATHLETE that’s on the track just one step away from winning. You’re going to run into setbacks, have injuries, fave unpleasant circumstances around you. But the mental picture of you winning that gold medal, the feeling of how it feels to hold that medal in your hand is what will keep you on track and driving toward your goal.
You’re going to run into setbacks, have injuries, face unpleasant circumstances around you.
But the mental picture of you winning that gold medal, the feeling of how it feels to hold that medal in your hand is what will keep you on track and driving toward your goal.
- Listen to the Self Made Man podcast by Mike Dillard, where it interviews successful entrepreneurs who’ve been thru the journey of failure and success. You can learn more about how to be more optimistic in your life and business by modelling those who have walked the path.
- Start the Four Percent Challenge, which can help you program your mind for business & success. I have learnt more from this membership than anything else that I have bought online. You can test it out for a month and discontinue if you feel that it’s not your type of motivation.
- Tune into Lewis Howse’s School Of Greatness podcast. This is also a high-value content podcast featuring all those people who have been thru the tough times.