Being an optimist can mean many things. Bert Jacobs in the book “Life is Good” describes optimism as, “A powerful and pragmatic strategy for accomplishing goals and living a meaningful life.” Optimism is broad in the sense that it means to be positive, cheerful, strong-willed, believable, and open-minded. Being an optimist means you are experiencing the world around you with open arms and an eye towards growth and progress. Pessimism is corrosive, realism lacks creativity, and optimism is boundless. Below I list the 2nd and 3rd superpowers to be an optimist:
Superpower #2 Courage: The first thing you need to decide starting at the beginning of the day is if you are going to believe in yourself. You don’t think you can do a lot of things until you are faced with choices. What are my choices today, smile or frown? Why would you choose to frown and not smile? Is smiling easy? Hardly. Courageous? For sure.
Courageous people have an extra reservoir of optimism within them. When things are crazy, and a tough day only seems to get tougher, courageous people have the ability to dig down and find a little positivity.
Every day, we can choose to define our day with Discouraging or Encouraging frames. Are we building people up or tearing them down? Are we contributing positively or are we a negative influence? It takes more effort to be encouraging, which is also why it is harder. How do you want to reflect on your day? The courageous thing is to always try because you either succeed or you learn. Both scenarios you win. If you don’t try you cant learn, and if you don’t learn, you can grow.
Sometimes the most courageous thing you can do is admitting your licked for the day and it got the best of you – only for the day. Because tomorrow is a new day, and you need to believe it will be better.
Lastly, making the courageous choices isn’t always the easy choice, however it opens doors for new opportunity. There will be moments of self-doubt, skeptics in our path, and external forces inviting us to focus on what is wrong with the world. But we need to be courageous and open the doors of opportunity.
Superpower #3 Simplicity: Make life and work simple. Not to be confused with a work – life balance. Which there is no such thing as work – life balance because what you are saying is your work and life are working against each other, when really your work should just be a subcategory of your life. However, I digress. Making complex things simple is the highest form of sophistication. Why work harder, and not smarter?
When we are “too busy” we don’t do anything well. Our relationships suffer, our performance at work suffers, and we don’t enjoy our lives. Yet, being “Crazy Busy” is a badge of honor for some people. The adrenaline rush of multi-tasking and trying to speed through a million things at once can reinforce an illusion that we are in high demand and moving towards something grand. When really multi-tasking to me just seems like another phrase for not doing anything well. When you are multi-tasking it means part of your attention is in one spot, and in another, and another. If you focus all your attention on one thing, the finished product should be completed faster and in higher quality.
How can we make things simple then? Well by being selective in what we focus on. If your focus is to do laundry right when you get home, then do it right when you get home. Don’t first take the garbage out, then change, then exercise, etc.
Unplug. Yes, the 23-year-old millennial is telling you to unplug from your phones, and social media, and email, and games, etc. There is one simple question to ask yourself, what do you give it and what does it give back to you? Is it worth it? Do you get some type of intrinsic value by using it? I'm not saying to completely stop using it, I still use it. However, I have cut completely down on it by setting time limits on it and deleting different applications. You have to figure out what feeds your good wolf.
Each of us have a “Good Wolf” and a “Bad Wolf” Fighting inside of us. The question is, “Which wolf will win?” Well, the wolf you feed. You feed your good wolf by living life with good intention and focusing on the important things. You feed your bad wolf by focusing on extraneous stuff and external distractions. Feed your good wolf.