It is universally acknowledged that an optimistic outlook is preferable to a pessimistic one, but few of us fully appreciate the prolific and tangible benefits of optimism. When compared to their pessimistic counterparts, optimists enjoy:
- More professional success
- Greater success in personal relationships
- Improved physical health
- Better mental health
- Increased life span
- Superior coping skills during times of stress or hardship
What is it about an optimistic mindset that drives professional success? Psychologist and author Martin Seligman, who is considered a leading authority on “positive psychology,” asserts that optimists tend to view failures as temporary setbacks, while pessimists view such events as the end of the road. The greater resilience and persistence that accompanies optimism fosters successful outcomes. In addition, upbeat people are simply more pleasant to be around; people seek out their company and enjoy working with them. Consider the impact of these two factors for sales professionals!
As for the health benefits of optimism, there are two leading theories. Emotional stress prompts the production of a hormone called cortisol, which has negative health implications. Optimists tend to handle stress better than pessimists, therefore producing less of the hormone. Research also shows that optimists tend to live healthier lifestyles relative to diet and exercise, practicing fewer bad habits.
Those who lack an optimistic nature can take heart – Seligman suggests that positive thinking is a habit that can be learned. Here are tips to cultivate your optimism:
- Keep company with positive people. Zig Ziglar once said, “You can’t scratch with the turkeys if you want to fly with the eagles.” Both optimism and pessimism are contagious. Seek out the company of successful, upbeat people, and avoid pessimists.
- Monitor your thoughts for negativity. When you notice negative thoughts, stop and look for opportunities to improve your perspective.
- Have a laugh. Engaging humor can lend perspective and reduce stress in times of duress.
- Count your blessings. At the end of each day, list the positive events that occurred that day.
Our mindset is the foundation upon which all of our business activities and sales efforts are built. Start your New Year with a positive outlook to cultivate success in 2016!