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The question I would like to discuss with you today is “How can I be more optimistic?”. One of the ultimate questions out there. As we are all aware, everything in this world has its pros and cons. It is not a perfect world after all. We call someone an optimist, if their default way of thinking makes them see every situation or event for the pros before the cons. While for pessimists, it is simply the opposite. There is this long held belief in the society that puts optimists as better than pessimists, primarily because they are strongly associated with contentment and gratefulness considering they tend to focus more on the good side of things. However, before asking yourself how to be more optimistic, I want you to firstly make sure that you are not actually buying this belief, and trying to change yourself to be more optimistic just because of this. Even optimists have their own cons. And simultaneously, pessimists have their own pros. None of them are better than another. They have their own function. Optimists are great partners in times of uncertainty and lack of empowerment. Pessimists are equally great partners when it comes to precarious times, where risk calculation is critical in making it alive through a tough situation. So, if you want to train yourself to be an optimist, make sure that you are not doing it only to adhere to the world’s twisted standard and not for the right reason. One good reason would be like, if all your life you have been struggling with anxiety or lack of zest for life, and you are looking to improve your quality of life in your current circumstances.

Now, if you have the right reason already, let’s move along and peel out the easy tips to do for a more optimistic life. For the first tip, I would like to share with you a method that I personally have proved to be working well in building a new habit. It’s called the Association method. The truth is, humans suck when it comes to learning something entirely new with no identifiable benchmark to compare. That is why, if you are a graduate of Physics major, it would probably be super hard for you to study, let’s say, Biology where you have to rely on memorizing skills, like memorizing different types of flora and fauna. It’s just completely different. But, it would be a lot easier if you can associate the things that you are unfamiliar with, to the things that you are familiar with. This is where the Association method comes in. Association is a method that actually has been taught a lot, whether we notice it or not. To start building a glass half full mindset, you can try using this method. Try to associate the instances when you are being optimistic and pessimistic to something strong and familiar inside you. As a starter, you can use your decision making thought process. It is a process that we do everyday, mostly in autopilot, so it is in a way, a familiar process for you. Now, when it comes to decision making, humans are classified into two categories based on their major receptors: feeling and thinking. So for those of you who tend to put feelings in front of thinking during a decision making process, try to associate the instances of optimism with how happy they make you feel. For our thinking counterparts, try to associate it with how being optimistic makes sense and a logical thing to do in your situation. Doing this regularly will help your brain to perceive optimism as a friendly autopilot, just like your decision making process, so eventually it can stop rejecting it.

Then what? What is it that we need to do next? Now if you consider yourself struggling with being optimistic, which means a pessimist, there is a good chance that you tend to completely avoid circumstances that you think will have more negative impact towards you. Am I right? So the next thing that you need to do, is to literally do the opposite. Force yourself to be in an unpleasant situation. It can either be involving yourself in events or activities you hate, or spending time with the kinds of people that irritate you. Why is this important? Well, there are two ways how this can help you. First, you will be physically challenging your own boundaries, and it will train your own self to be ready for change and accept it. Secondly, it will force you to broaden your view into bigger than just the things you are seeing and experiencing in front of you. Surprisingly, optimistic people are actually good at making excuses. Yes, you heard that right. These excuses are based on their belief that the bigger truth is often more important, and the things that they are seeing in front of their eyes right now does not always represent the bigger truth. For example, when someone throws a bad joke at an optimistic person, usually they can shrug that off easily because they don’t take that one occurrence as a depiction of the person’s true character. “Maybe he just got carried away by the situation”, or “Maybe he’s just trying to fit in” and so on and so forth. So, once you have forced yourself to be in an unpleasant situation – and assuming that you want to survive it – try approaching it the way the optimists do. And, make it a habit. You will be there in no time.

So, are you ready to be an optimist? I would love to hear what you think! Shoot me an email at dannis@lifeforexperts.com. Or, connect with me through my website in LifeForExperts.com, my Twitter in @lifeforexperts, or my Instagram in @lifeforexpert without the letter “s” at the end.

Thank you for trusting Life For Experts. Never stop learning to become an expert in life. I’m Dannis, and I will see you next time. Bye!

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