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Building Your Optimism Muscle

Posted By: Randy GageSeptember 16, 2009

On a recent post we talked about how optimistic you are. So what did you decide about your optimistic nature? Or lack of it? The good news is you can develop optimism just as you would any other skill.

Do you realize how important that last statement can be to your life?

Just like playing the piano or learning to skate, you can learn to be more optimistic. And doing that can make you healthier, happier, and richer! And that’s pretty cool.

Now we are not just talking about making positive affirmations. (Although doing that is certainly good.) The real breakthroughs come when you change how you deal with negative thoughts and emotions. Or as explained in the “Hard Optimism” book, “non-negative thinking” is the essence of hard optimism.

One of the things the psychological research has discovered is that optimism and pessimism are not two ends of a scale. They are actually two very separate dimensions. And the best results come when you reshape your mental activity that is pessimistic.

You actually create a disciplined, deliberate way of thinking about what happens in your everyday life. You appreciate blessings instead of dwelling on negative things. You emphasize opportunities, rather than the obstacles. You actually explain events to yourself in a way that enhances your expectations, and thus your performance.

So how are you doing on that?

-RG

12 comments on “Building Your Optimism Muscle”

  1. The practice of catching a negative thought.. stopping.. and then shifting it to the 'opportunity mind' is one that is ongoing. I also find it has much to do with the sort of people we choose to be around, and sifting through those who are always pessimistic and staying away from them.

    The challenges are many with the economic elements, too. However, I took your advice from the beginning and never watch news or read about it and read positive, inspiring chapters daily which really helps. In particular, I love Alan Cohen's, "Relax into Wealth".. I've read it many times and continue to do so chapter by chapter.. It really reminds us of how much abundance there is, and that we can do whatever we choose..

  2. Dear Randy,

    we have a lot of horns(negatives) around us, but we could growthed many beautiful roses(positives) from them.

    And then enjoy from watching our life's garden roses 😉

  3. Events are just that. Each person arrives at a conclusion of how they feel about them. So on the physical plane some things feel good and others don't.

    Well the Universe works on opposites. There is a north pole and a south pole as an example. What I practice now since I didn't know of Randy and many thought leaders like him for most of my life, is that if something doesn't feel good to me, my goal is to recognize that and then move to a place that does feel good.

    I do not think in terms of optimism or pessimism. I prefer to think in terms of how something feels to me.

    Thank you Randy for this topic.

    Steve

  4. HI Randy;

    I fully agree with the concept of shifting the negative thought to a positive one. What I found is, that it often takes work because we are so conditioned to allow whatever thought we are having to snowball sort of speaking.

    As for myself what I found that has worked for me is to practice awareness, this may seem simple, but tell me how often each of us is fully aware of all the thoughts that go through our minds?

    It has been with the intentional act of being aware of my thoughts that I have been able to gain greater insights into myself. That also includes the intentional shifting of any negative thought that comes up in what ever way it takes.

    Sometimes it's easier than others, and on the occassions that it may linger longer one of my favorite tools is using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to move past any blocks that hinder the process.

    Regards
    Olga

  5. -Rg,

    Being and staying in a mindset of optimism is something that I do pay attention to.

    I still find it easer to not be optimistic, "muscle still growing" yet I'm now aware of it and can change my mind when I start to drift that way.

    -djm

  6. I am generally positive but sometimes find myself thinking scary things and because I know about LOA that freaks me out.. so I shake my head and say 'thanks for sharing but I am not accepting that thought.'

    Anyhow it can be quite challenging inside my head LOL.

    Randy I sometimes wonder what its really like in your head. I mean do you just not get negative thoughts anymore?

    Come on please tell us!

  7. Interesting post as always. I think that the negative thoughts might still come, but we just need to push them out of our heads. By self development and other stuff, we create a barrier around our minds.
    Nice post Randy. I live in the Netherlands. If you ever come here again, for a seminar, let me know. I need a mentor of some sorts anyways. Don't worry...I mostly work independently. 🙂

  8. really this is the backbone of my next few months: discover ways of wiping out pessimism habits and create new optimistic ones.
    thanks
    dom

  9. When challenging areas come up in my life, big decisions to be made and possible negative outcomes loom... I remember that I am working with the Divine. I ask for guidance, trust the intuition that is the Holy Spirit and know that even if mistakes are made, all things come together for good.

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  • 12 comments on “Building Your Optimism Muscle”

    1. The practice of catching a negative thought.. stopping.. and then shifting it to the 'opportunity mind' is one that is ongoing. I also find it has much to do with the sort of people we choose to be around, and sifting through those who are always pessimistic and staying away from them.

      The challenges are many with the economic elements, too. However, I took your advice from the beginning and never watch news or read about it and read positive, inspiring chapters daily which really helps. In particular, I love Alan Cohen's, "Relax into Wealth".. I've read it many times and continue to do so chapter by chapter.. It really reminds us of how much abundance there is, and that we can do whatever we choose..

    2. Dear Randy,

      we have a lot of horns(negatives) around us, but we could growthed many beautiful roses(positives) from them.

      And then enjoy from watching our life's garden roses 😉

    3. Events are just that. Each person arrives at a conclusion of how they feel about them. So on the physical plane some things feel good and others don't.

      Well the Universe works on opposites. There is a north pole and a south pole as an example. What I practice now since I didn't know of Randy and many thought leaders like him for most of my life, is that if something doesn't feel good to me, my goal is to recognize that and then move to a place that does feel good.

      I do not think in terms of optimism or pessimism. I prefer to think in terms of how something feels to me.

      Thank you Randy for this topic.

      Steve

    4. HI Randy;

      I fully agree with the concept of shifting the negative thought to a positive one. What I found is, that it often takes work because we are so conditioned to allow whatever thought we are having to snowball sort of speaking.

      As for myself what I found that has worked for me is to practice awareness, this may seem simple, but tell me how often each of us is fully aware of all the thoughts that go through our minds?

      It has been with the intentional act of being aware of my thoughts that I have been able to gain greater insights into myself. That also includes the intentional shifting of any negative thought that comes up in what ever way it takes.

      Sometimes it's easier than others, and on the occassions that it may linger longer one of my favorite tools is using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to move past any blocks that hinder the process.

      Regards
      Olga

    5. -Rg,

      Being and staying in a mindset of optimism is something that I do pay attention to.

      I still find it easer to not be optimistic, "muscle still growing" yet I'm now aware of it and can change my mind when I start to drift that way.

      -djm

    6. I am generally positive but sometimes find myself thinking scary things and because I know about LOA that freaks me out.. so I shake my head and say 'thanks for sharing but I am not accepting that thought.'

      Anyhow it can be quite challenging inside my head LOL.

      Randy I sometimes wonder what its really like in your head. I mean do you just not get negative thoughts anymore?

      Come on please tell us!

    7. Interesting post as always. I think that the negative thoughts might still come, but we just need to push them out of our heads. By self development and other stuff, we create a barrier around our minds.
      Nice post Randy. I live in the Netherlands. If you ever come here again, for a seminar, let me know. I need a mentor of some sorts anyways. Don't worry...I mostly work independently. 🙂

    8. really this is the backbone of my next few months: discover ways of wiping out pessimism habits and create new optimistic ones.
      thanks
      dom

    9. When challenging areas come up in my life, big decisions to be made and possible negative outcomes loom... I remember that I am working with the Divine. I ask for guidance, trust the intuition that is the Holy Spirit and know that even if mistakes are made, all things come together for good.

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