Is optimism a gift or a choice?

So here’s the question. Is optimism a choice or a gift that some people are just born with? First of all let’s look at the definition of optimism.

OPTIMISM: Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.

How do we choose to be confident or hopeful? Let’s look at the behavior of successful people.

After watching the US Open golf tournament I heard one of the announcers opine about the winner Gary Woodland. As I was watching Gary walk toward his last few shots at the 18th hole I heard the announcer say something profound. You see Gary had some bad shots that day and had to find the silver lining and solve problems over and over again throughout the day. The announcer commented, “The best players are the ones who have this great ability to see what they want and not what they’re afraid might happen.” Wow! What exactly does this quote mean in the context of our conversation? To me, it means having a laser focus on a successful outcome not on the failure that might ensue. They have a goal and, while failure is always an option (which we all know), they are going to focus on what it takes to be successful and give it all they’ve got. That would suggest that it’s a choice. It may take experience and practice but anyone can do it. I don’t know about you but that’s good news to me!

Let’s break this wisdom down into the simple steps that lead to optimism:
1. Make a worthwhile goal
2. Stay laser focused on the positive outcome (winning)
3. Admit and improve on your weaknesses (without torturing yourself)
4. Practice (be okay with setbacks)
5. Stay calm in the process and move on mentally and physically after you experience a setback (don’t lose sleep over it!)
6. Visualize winning! That means actually taking some quiet time and going through it in your mind.
So while being optimistic may be a gift for some, making a choice to be optimistic may be the case for the rest of us. Either way, the result is the same! We can remain calm, stay focused on the positive and move forward with confidence. The result is that hope in our lives can rule the day and that fact will ALWAYS lead to success in the long run! Here’s to choosing optimism!