I believe that an individual’s optimism quotient is formed early in life. With that said, I also think that optimism is a skill set that can be developed and practiced throughout one’s life. As entrepreneurs, we will always face challenges, disappointments, and failures, no matter what industry we work in or our personal life paths. Research shows that 90% of an individual’s long-term success is predicted by how we process the world around us and less by what happens in the world around us.
I firmly believe in an optimistic mindset and how it can propel your career and improve your personal life. My version of optimism is based on a solid belief in the future, and it has been a vital tool for me over the years. In college, I doubled up on difficult engineering classes one summer, and I can still remember giving myself many pep talks in the bathroom mirror, so I would keep going. I would look myself in the eye and say, “You’ve got this. Only two more thermodynamic chapters before you can go home. You can do it.”
And I did it. After college, I continued to use optimism to catch up to deadlines, make a difference, find opportunities, and become adept at weathering challenges and disappointments. Through optimism, I could see silver linings and move forward with excitement and vigor. Entrepreneurship is all about tackling the hardships that life throws at you. With optimism in mind and at the ready, the journey through the entrepreneurial venture can be one of lessons learned and milestones made.
5 Tools to Harness Your Optimism
How do you become more optimistic or implement an optimistic mindset into your day? While there are many books, podcasts, and live events about changing your perspective, I believe that there are five components that help nourish our optimistic mindsets and keep us on a path of positive attitude.
1. The people you are surrounded by
We’ve all heard sayings such as “Birds of a feather flock together” or “You are a combination of the five people you spend the most time with.” If your friends, family, and business partners are positive thinkers, their optimism will rub off on you naturally. It will be easier to practice an optimistic mindset when you have people in place to support you who also view the glass as half complete. Look around and consider who are positive influences and who could pull you down.
2. The events you experience
We can’t control everything, and life will bring ups and downs and unplanned situations that aren’t foreseen when creating a business. Be purposeful with the time you have control of, and deliberate about your experiences when you can. Attend an event that will positively affect your leadership and business training, connect with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs, or save time for a hobby you love. A series of positive experiences can help you remain optimistic when something negative comes along.
3. The material that you feed your mind
Technology offers a wealth of information at our fingertips. If you read a daily column from a writer known for being negative, that perspective can easily seep into how you view and do things. Be mindful of what information you consume, as it consistently feeds into how you process other information. Take inventory of what you watch, read, and listen to, and evaluate how it might impact your mindset.
4. A strong belief in yourself
If you don’t believe in yourself, it will be more difficult for others to get behind your goals and support your vision. Just as my pep talks were motivation to plunge forward in college, every person must find inspiration to continue to believe in what they’re doing and the path they’re taking. Optimism dramatically affects our ability to learn and grow, and a “just figure it out” optimistic mentality can go a long way toward personal and professional success.
5. A partnership with realism
I view optimism with a footnote of realism. Optimism is not about engaging in wishful or fantastic thinking or having “your head in the clouds.” An entirely optimistic mindset requires a reality component, so you’re not blindly and recklessly pushing forward. Finding the proper balance between optimism and realism will strengthen your optimistic perspective. Listen to your inner realist so that your optimistic intentions don’t go wild without restraint, and instead, remain directed at your goals.
Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” You can practice the art of optimism and train yourself to align your mindset with an optimistic focus better. Optimism is contagious; start with yourself and watch the positivity have a ripple effect on the people and circumstances surrounding you.
Finding your optimism can benefit you when taking your first steps on your entrepreneurial journey, but if you are looking for more guidance, reach out to me at Ambiologix.