Having positive expectations is a large portion of what makes a person optimistic. The theory goes, that expecting the best sets yourself up for success rather than failure, and even if you don’t succeed the first time, your positive expectations make you more likely to try again and succeed.
This is an area I’ve struggled with in the past, and still do sometimes, although I’ve gotten waaaaaaay better. It takes some time to retrain your mind if you’ve become used to expecting the worst in certain situations. But what I’ve learned is that by expecting the worst, you focus on what you DON’T want to happen (and it usually happens if you think this way!) instead of focusing on what you DO want to happen.
A psychology teacher of mine put it this way: you are either a failure-avoider (aka pessimist), or a success-seeker (aka optimist).
A way that I found to retrain my mind was to make a game out of optimism. It’s fun–give it a try : )
I call it the “positivity game.”
Basically what you do, is in any seemingly negative situation in which you find yourself hesitant, afraid, dreading something, or expecting the worst, you mark out one bright side of that negative situation.
- NEGATIVE SITUATION: You are dreading your office party this weekend–you find these parties draining and on top of that you always seem to get tongue-tied.
- BRIGHT SIDE (self-talk): This is an opportunity for me to practice my communication skills with colleagues, and run some of my ideas by them. Who knows, maybe I can invite them for drinks after!
What this positive-reframing of future situations does is it sets you up for success by allowing you to focus on the good that can come out of the situation instead of the bad that you think will happen.
Thoughts? What do you do to improve optimism about future events?