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Optimism Increases Productivity




How am I going to get through all this work?
I don't know what will happen if I fail?
What happens if we don't meet the sales budget?
I hope that I don't get sick!
If this is a familiar train of thought then you are in trouble!
Pessimism has been found to not only increase stress, but also increases incidence of illness &  absenteeism, tiredness, slower recovery from surgery, low self esteem, and causes the under use  of abilities.
You simply cannot afford to 'put up' with a bad mood, having a miserable day, or negative colleagues.  Pessimism will drain both your productivity and quality of life.
...yet, surely a little bit of healthy scepticism isn't really that bad?
No, it's not.
However, being pessimistic is not the same as being cynical.
Cynics simply don't trust what they hear - however, they may be very happy and hard working people.  Pessimists see themselves, and life, from a negative, bitter viewpoint - often making them feel stuck,  or even helpless - feeling that their situation will never change and that they will not be able to bounce back.
The very nature of pessimism cripples your ability to become
resilient and bounce back from stress, pressure or burnout
The Mayo Clinic investigators believe that pessimism and depression are likely to be risk factors  for dementia. [4]

So, how to 'fix' pessimism?

Use the anti-venom, naturally...a dose of optimism!

Test results found that 'optimistic' men were about half as likely to develop heart disease as men defined as pessimistic [4]
Optimism may reduce the risk of health problems and may actually help a person recover after experiencing a serious life-changing event. [2]
According to Martin Seligman, author of 'Learned Optimism':
"Within the American workplace, optimists overall stay with difficult and challenging jobs, while pessimists seem to do worse than predicted and even give up.  In our research on the roles of optimism and  pessimism, we conducted studies in the workplace. We looked for a demanding field in which there
were a lot of challenges, frustrations, and rejection. The question was: 'What type of person copes
with that kind of situation best?'
We tested 15,000 applicants for life insurance sales, a difficult job with frequent rejection and a high drop-out rate. We measured, by questionnaire, the explanatory style (a metric of optimism and pessimism) of the regular qualified people who were hired. Also included was a special force of 129 people who failed the industry test -- who wouldn't normally have been hired -- but who tested very well on optimism.
Our research followed both groups for two years and concluded with two basic findings. First, within the regular qualified group that was hired, the optimists significantly outsold the pessimists. Second, the special force of optimists who failed the industry test outsold everyone."[1]

So, can you become more optimistic overnight?

Well, let me ask that question another way...
'can you stop eating ice-cream from one day to the next?'
Sure you can - you just stop buying the stuff or stop opening the freezer and it taking out in the first place.
It is a most things in life.
YOU choose what you eat.
YOU choose how you move your body.
YOU choose what you say to, and about, other people.
...and YOU choose what you THINK.
Yes - of course you can become more optimistic - you just choose different actions. 
You think different thoughts, you express yourself with different words, you may even set different standards for yourself.

So, how do you create more optimism at work?

1. Get away from the garbage
If you don't want to smell - then don't touch the garbage!  If you want the optimism in your life, then you need to stop indulging in the complaining about the weather, traffic, politics, andeverything else that isn't going perfectly.
If the people you work or deal with each day are pessimistic, complaining, miserable sods then that's just tough luck.   However, it doesn't have to make you one as well.  You can choose not to get sucked into their vacuum of negativity and keep your own head strong.
How would you feel if someone walked into your living room and dumped a pile of rubbish on your carpet/floor boards?  I'm assuming this would upset you - maybe even make you mad!
You probably wouldn't tolerate anyone doing that to why would you tolerate people dumping their garbage thoughts and complaints in your head?
Dave Boufford's website,  is dedicated to sourcing positive news from around the world.  I recommend visiting his site and viewing his short motivational movie "Rules For Being Human".
Research suggests that optimistic attitudes can reduce risk of heart disease in older men, says Laura Kubzansky, assistant professor of health and social behavior at the Harvard School of Public Health.[3]
Make a choice about what you focus on and about the conversations you have.

2. External versus Internal
Do you spend more time putting yourself down and blaming yourself when things go wrong?  If so, then STOP IT!  Sometimes things just don't work out.  It doesn't have to always be about you!  There may be other circumstances that play a role in a disappointing outcome. 
Optimists explain negative events in their lives as due to being a combination of them and circumstances - thereby not wearing the full burden of the problem on their shoulders.  In contrast, pessimists tend to see setbacks as mostly 'their fault'. [6]
Not everything is 'your fault' - share the burden with life.
3. Get into better thinking habits
Learn why some people naturally SWIM and become optimistic when dealing with stress and pressure  while others SINK and become pessimistic under the same circumstances.
I run regular courses on 'Becoming resilient to pressure in work and life' where I reveal the 4 key mindsets that will turn your pessimism into optimism.  You can find out more about them from:

For additional resources on optimism:
* 'A Healthy Attitude - Optimism, Pessimism and Your Health'

Michael Licenblat B.Sc.(Psych) is a Resilience Expert who helps people in business bounce back fast from pressure, stress and burnout in their work and life. He is a professional speaker, coach and author of three books.


To download your free special report on the ‘Seven ways to prevent yourself becoming Over-Worked, Stressed-Out, and Run-Down’, visit:


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