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Claiming Your Optimism Advantage Can Change Your Life One Day at a Time

by Terry Paulson on Aug 19, 2009 Category: Overcoming Adversity, Victim Thinking

After surviving the Holocaust, Viktor Frankl observed, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing…to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” You choose the attitude you bring to your day and the actions you take to invent your future. But what is optimism?

Optimism isn’t motivational hype; it’s earned through a track record of overcoming obstacles. The more obstacles you have overcome, the more likely you are to believe that you can do it again. Research suggests that flexible optimists persevere even in the presence of obstacles and negative outcomes. They perceive failures as temporary setbacks, rather than final verdicts. Victory comes most often to the steady and dependable. Optimists balance the hope of success with a realistic assessment of the obstacles that must be overcome to reach it. As a result, they use difficult times as stepping stones for success.

This site will be dedicated to giving you practical insights on how you can claim your own optimism advantage. I welcome your questions, your insights and your stories that will help serve the readers who come here.

I must also acknowledge the pioneering work of Martin Seligman, PhD. He has challenged psychologists to champion and study positive psychology. His initial work on optimism has inspired much of my work and my programs. Let me honor him by including this quote from his book on Learned Optimism.

 ”Life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on the optimist as on the pessimist, but the optimist weathers them better…. The optimist bounces back from defeat, and, with his life somewhat poorer, he picks up and starts again. The pessimist gives up and falls into depression. Because of his resilience, the optimist achieves more at work, at school, and on the playing field. The optimist has better physical health and may even live longer. Americans want optimists to lead them. Even when things go well for the pessimist, he is haunted by forebodings of catastrophe. For pessimists, that is the bad news. The good news is that pessimists can learn the skills of optimism and permanently improve the quality of their lives.”

Hopefully, this blog will provide useful insights, practical research and inspiring stories that will help you learn the skills of optimism and improve the quality of your life on and off the job. May it be so!

Terry Paulson, PhD

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