The way to success is often messy. We need determination and optimism to keep us going.
The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.
—William James, 1842-1910
Which attitude gives us the best chance of success in life?
- Always think positive thoughts and the universe will reward us.
- It doesn’t matter what we do, things will turn out badly.
- Things won’t always go the way we want…challenges are bound to come up, but we can handle them.
Not too surprisingly, the answer is #3. In spite of all the talk these days about the law of attraction, studies show that successful optimists don’t expect life to always go smoothly. They know bad things sometimes happen, but they think of themselves as problem solvers. They tend to work longer hours each week, save more, expect to retire later in life, eat healthier food, get more exercise, and are less likely to smoke. They have a long-term view of life and believe in enjoying the journey. It’s no surprise, then, that they tend to be healthier and live longer…as well as have more fun.
What can we do to be successful optimists? My approach is to eat a healthy diet, get a reasonable amount of exercise, and keep working on developing the traits of stress-hardiness. What about you? What’s your approach?
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