Optimism comes from the Latin word optimus, meaning “best,” which describes how an optimistic person is always looking for the best in any situation and expecting good things to happen. Optimism is the tendency to believe, expect or hope that things will turn out well. Even if something bad happens, like the loss of a job, an optimist sees the silver lining. For optimist, getting fired is the catalyst that allows him/her to start his own business. As he packed up his office, his mind was already whirling with the possibilities ahead. Without that push, he may never have made the leap to self-employment.
Happiness through Positive Thinking
Being an optimist or a pessimist boils down to the way you talk to yourself. Optimists believe that their own actions result in positive things happening, that they are responsible for their own happiness, and that they can expect more good things to happen in the future. Optimists don’t blame themselves when bad things happen. They view bad events as results of something outside of themselves. I didn’t blame myself for losing my job, but saw it as a business decision that had nothing to do with me personally.
Pessimists think the opposite way, however. They blame themselves for the bad things that happen in their lives and think that one mistake means more will inevitably come. Pessimists see positive events as flukes that are outside of their control—a lucky streak that probably won’t happen again.
Because of their thought processes, optimists have much brighter futures. A bad circumstance or event is taken in stride, viewed as a temporary setback—not a permanent way of life. Even if something bad happens today, a positive thinker believes that good things will come again in the future.
Optimists tend to share several other positive characteristics that increase overall happiness and promote health, while reducing depression and chronic stress:
- They think about, reflect on, and emphasize the good things in life.
- They are grateful and thankful for all their blessings.
- They don’t complain when something bad happens.
- They feel that nothing can hold them back from achieving success and reaching their goals.
- They believe in abundance.
- They are confident that the world offers plenty of opportunities for everyone to succeed.