It is crucial to have goals and dreams, but the question is, what do we do when things get difficult? One of the most vitally crucial aspects of being human is being able to imagine what the future holds and maintain a sense of hope when things don’t go our way. It is important to train our minds to understand that having a poor day, failing an exam, breaking up with a significant other, or losing our job or our business does not mean that the future is hopeless.
When our aspirations and dreams have yet to come to fruition, it may be difficult to believe that wonderful things are going to come our way. This concept is especially true when we look at the past. If we can discover reasons to have hope for the future, we may maintain a positive outlook on life, even when things aren’t going the way we hoped they would. When difficult things occur, such as when mistakes are made, we make use of our self-awareness and optimism to refocus our attention on the solutions, which are the positive elements of the situation.
We are all familiar with the proverb “every dark cloud has a silver lining,” yet we frequently fail to recognize the potential that this concept could bring into our lives if it were applied to every challenging circumstance.
The idea that every cloud has a silver lining is more than just a cliche; it’s an approach that has a respectable amount of research to back it up. Psychologists frequently discuss the ability to unearth previously unknown advantages in challenging situations. This means that when a situation presents itself to us, our brain unconsciously goes to the negative aspects of it. However, as time passes and we begin thinking about it, we realize that the storm brought with it opportunities that we could only see after the dust had settled. Because of the emotional sabotage that is generated by our negative feelings, such as fear and panic in response to the storm, it is impossible for us to comprehend what we could possibly beneﬁt from.
We can certainly become storm survivors and retrain our brains to view the future with optimism and hope, if we understand the fundamental skills of a positive attitude and put them into practice. As a result, we will have an easier time focusing the spotlight in low-light conditions.
Optimism, like any other mental habit, is not an intrinsic ability but rather a mental disposition that can be developed. Optimism is a mindset that we adopt in response to the challenges that life presents. We have two choices: either we allow ourselves to be defeated and succumb to hopelessness, or we can respond to the situation and discover that, in the end, there is always a reason to be happy or to learn something from the experience. At the very least, we can make an effort.
This ability is best understood by contrasting the attitudes of an optimist with their polar opposite, the pessimist. Pessimists see the glass as half empty, while optimists see it as half full. While optimists and pessimists alike argue about the situation, a third group appears and, ironically, swoops in and drinks what’s in the glass. This group is known as opportunists.
Optimism and pessimism are both mindsets that influence how we view the world and what’s happening around us. Optimists believe that success is the result of their own hard work and effort, while pessimists believe that success is the result of good fortune or fate. Optimists believe that a difficulty, such as the loss of a job, will only last for a short period of time or that it is the result of a shortage of work in their sector.
Optimists are positive, they reassure themselves that they will put in a lot of effort to locate another job, and that, as a result, another job will be secured. A pessimist, however, regards a job loss as someone else’s doing; for example, their boss has a poor opinion of them. They believe that the system is rigged against them and life isn’t fair to them. A pessimist will view the loss of employment as a significant obstacle when it occurs. They have the impression that they are a failure.
Optimism Is a State of Mind
Whoever is looking for reasons to be unhappy will have little trouble finding plenty of them. Research conducted over a period of over fifty years has consistently demonstrated that optimists enjoy longer lives that are both healthier and happier. Neuroscientists believe that a happy attitude increases the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine that is produced in the brain. Dopamine is a crucial hormone that plays a role in how we feel happiness. Optimism is a mental state that is marked by hope and confidence in our ability to achieve our goals and have a favorable future. If we have the habit of always looking on the bright side of things, we can have the impression that we have more pleasant experiences in our lives than other people, that we are less stressed, and that we enjoy greater health benefits.
How do you know if you’re optimistic? In many situations, those around you have probably already given you some insight into your optimistic versus pessimistic tendencies.
Optimists tend to have a number of key characteristics in common, including the fact that they can easily point out good things in any given situation, that they often have a smile on their face, that they always hold out hope for a change in luck, and that they always put in a lot of effort to achieve their goals.
When we have negative feelings about ourselves, we unconsciously act in ways that end up validating our beliefs. For instance, if we have the thought that we are not deserving of a good relationship, a good job, or stable financial circumstances, we will either stop pursuing these goals at the level that is necessary to achieve them or sabotage ourselves along the way. When we are in a cycle of feeling bad about ourselves, we need to find a way to break out of it. One critical way may be to communicate more effectively, to be able to verbalize our needs specifically, and to communicate those needs more plainly and openly. With this skill, we will be forced to construct a life that is rational and grounded in reality in order to fulfill those needs and live an authentic life.
It is important to keep in mind that the key to creating motivation and optimism for yourself is to celebrate your successes and milestones. Have you formed the poor habit of thinking negatively whenever you are confronted with situations, or do you tend to look on the positive side of things?
The figurative comparison of an optimist as someone who can look on the bright side of any circumstance and a pessimist as someone who can only see the negative aspects of any circumstance is made using the metaphor I mentioned previously, of a person who sees the glass either half full or half empty. Negativism can put a stop to forward movement, while optimism can motivate and promote it.
We can use this model to work through any situation in an upbeat and practical manner. The steps that are outlined below are a framework that can assist us in defining and working through the problem or situation. This model was originally developed by Dr. Martin Seligman, the founding father of positive psychology.
Adversity: Everything that we observe is a problem or an unfortunate circumstance. In this exercise, we will first imagine a hypothetically bad scenario from a pessimistic point of view, and then from an optimistic point of view.
Disputation: Engaging in a debate with ourselves, such as when we ask, “What’s the evidence for this belief?” In the face of adversity, what are some alternative perspectives to take? We ask questions like, “Even if my belief is correct, what are its implications, and how useful is holding on to the negative belief?”
Distancing: Implies ditching pessimism and distancing ourselves from the pessimistic explanations. We can separate ourselves from others’ baseless allegations, but we’re terrible at it for ourselves. For example, igniting daily self-accusations. These are usually negative behaviors or notions that we carry with us from the past.
Distracting: Helps us get away from the negative thoughts we’ve been having. We can force ourselves to quit by employing a mental or physical strategy. Some people keep an elastic band around their necks, and if they have a negative thought, they snap the band. We should do whatever it takes to get the energy ﬂowing in the right direction so we can move on.
The Hungarian-American nuclear physicist Edward Teller said: “When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught to ﬂy.”
The corporate well-being psychologist, Bhali Gill, said “many people aren’t aware of how powerful visualization can be in their lives”. In fact, many of us do plenty of visualization every day. The problem is that most of us are doing visualizations to create the lives we don’t want. We often use it to imagine the worst outcomes or worry about a future that is out of our immediate control.
Imagine that everything goes according to plan and the future is as bright and beautiful as it possibly can be. It could be helpful to imagine a specific moment in the distant future, such as five years from now. This could also be considered goal setting, and your job is to make these goals achievable through positive thoughts and actions. Do not sit and watch opportunities pass you by.
If this future unfolds as planned, you will have accomplished every objective that you set for yourself. You have found the person you are meant to be with. You have made your mark in the professional world as well as accomplished many of your financial objectives. You may be in the best shape of your life. You have reliable and kind friends. The goals are endless. Imagine the future in as much specific detail as you possibly can, both in terms of what it will look like and what it will mean to you.
Concentrate your attention on a single facet of your life that continues to provide you with such contentment and fulfillment. Either put your ideas and emotions down on paper so that you can see them in front of you, or envision them in your head and talk out loud about how you feel about them. You may also imagine that future and live with the specifics that are depicted in that image rather than writing anything down or speaking aloud.
You can perform this exercise while sitting, standing, or even lying down, as long as there are no distractions around. Train your brain to imagine what being successful looks like in great detail, and over time, your brain will start to believe that this is the truth, and it will begin to deploy all of the resources that are necessary to stay within this reality. As a consequence of this, each of your senses, in addition to your thinking, will collaborate in order to achieve that state of mind. It is then that you will see your goals, dreams, and aspirations come true