Moving forward: be an optimist

They are natural optimists who always find the silver lining and the glass
half full.

As well as being more cheerful, they will be less stressed, healthier, more
likely to bounce back from adversity, and will probably live longer.
Fortunately, their way of thinking can be learned and anybody can become more

What gives optimists their strength? They believe that failure is:

Temporary – When negative events occur, remind yourself that they will pass.
Focus instead on the successes you’ve had in the past and look forward to those
you’ll enjoy in the future. If you find yourself thinking ‘always’ or ‘never’ –
as in ‘I always get it wrong’, or ‘I never get it right’ – remind yourself that
this is just a temporary snag.

An isolated occurrence – Even if something isn’t going well, there are still
plenty of other things in your life that are rewarding and enjoyable.
Concentrate on these rather than dwelling on the negative.

Not their fault – Stop blaming yourself and consider other reasons why you
might have failed. Instead of thinking ‘I don’t understand this, I’m stupid’,
think of the reasons why you don’t understand. You can’t do much about being
dim-witted but you can always get more information or training.

When success does come their way, optimists believe that it is:

Permanent – Optimists expect success and appreciate it when it arrives.
Deliberately search out success and pleasure in your life. Make sure you notice
every success, however minor, and take time to enjoy it.

Universal – Optimists believe success in one thing predicts success in
everything. If someone likes them it’s because they’re a likable person
therefore other people will like them too. If they succeed at work it’s because
they’re good at what they do and will achieve more successes. If that doesn’t
happen, optimists – knowing that success is always possible – look for reasons
why and ensure that things work out better in future.

Optimists give themselves full credit for success. Luck has nothing to do
with it, it’s down to natural ability, hard work and excellent preparation. What
are the strengths that help you succeed and how can you use them to achieve even

Lynn Williams is a career coach and author of several
books including Ultimate Interview and Ultimate Job Search. (

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