One of my favorite authors and leaders is Jon Gordon. Jon is a self-proclaimed positive leader and thinker. At first glance, that doesn’t sound like much of a big deal. But the truth is, most leaders and most people, in general, are not like this. So when Jon hosted an online Positivity Summit I was interested right away.
There were many speakers from across the country and I listened to a quite a few of them. But I really enjoyed the conversation from one guy, in particular, who works with the Seattle Seahawks. His name is Michael Gervais and his title is that of a high-performance psychologist. Meaning, he helps high achievers (NFL athletes in this case) to reach their peak performance through understanding issues like this one.
Here are a few of the key things that I’m positive you’ll find as interesting and helpful as I did.
First off, optimism and pessimism are like lenses. They determine how you look at life and how you see your future. The optimist believes that life is going to somehow work out to their advantage. No matter how it appears, there is hope for the future. The pessimist is always unsure. They do not see things as in such a positive light.
Second, there are traps to both points of view. In both cases, the trap is set when either viewpoint tips too far to one side or the other. For the optimist, the trap is that you can see things as possible even when it may be clear that it’s not. On the other hand, the trap for the pessimist is that you never see the possibilities in front of you at all.
Both of these views are unhealthy. So, what should we do?
The answer is this: Make a choice.
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What Michael said that was so fascinating to consider was that both points of view are learned. This means that when we were born into the world we did not hold either one. Over time, however, one or the other was slowly ingrained into us. We adopted one or the other as our frame of reference. Interestingly enough, as Michael says, this is good news.
Anything that is learned can be re-learned or developed. That ought to be encouraging news to the pessimistic person who, like chicken little, believes the sky is always falling. There is hope, then, that they can re-learn and develop a new frame of reference. They can learn to view the world and their future through a new lens.
If this is true, then the big question is this: How? How can a pessimist change his point of view?
Here’s what Michael says. (I’m paraphrasing)
Have a relentless focus on what could go well and be constantly aware of the inner dialogue within you.
The reason that optimism is so much better than pessimism is because life is not always positive. Trouble will always find you. Difficulty is the deal of the day. Because this is so, a positive outlook and a relentless focus on what could go well (versus why everything won’t go well) is so crucial to a healthy and positive life. Optimism and positivity go hand-in-hand. It is these characteristics that allow you to mentally move forward in the midst of difficult circumstances. It is precisely these things that create positive action to help you move your life forward despite the negative circumstances you find yourself surrounded by.
Optimism and positivity go hand-in-hand. It is these characteristics that allow you to mentally move forward in the midst of difficult circumstances. Which is precisely what will create positive action and help you move your life forward despite the negative circumstances you find yourself surrounded by.
In the end, how you view the world is your choice. It all comes down to this:
[reminder]What are you relentlessly focusing on today? [/reminder]
For more about Michael Gervais, click here.