Photo credit: ‘La Vie En Rose’ – Jacqueline Coates
Have you ever wondered why some people are able to weather financial upheaval without breaking a sweat and have confidence to spare when it comes to taking risks such as starting their own business or taking a year off to travel without an enormous safety net? The answer is that they’ve mastered the art of optimistic thinking. The good news is that while some people are simply born more inclined towards optimism anyone can learn to take a more positive, proactive approach towards their money and financial life.
Optimists look for favorable outcomes
This doesn’t mean that optimists always jump in to things willy-nilly and hope for the best, rather that they do not let potential negative outcomes overshadow the potential positive outcomes. By expecting the best to happen and having faith that they can handle any negatives, optimists are in a position to take advantage of opportunities that come their way.
Of course, it would be foolish to ignore all risks but it’s also foolish to refuse to take actions that could increase your happiness and well being because you are only focused on the bad things that could happen and ignore the good.
Optimists believe that their actions can make a difference
Optimists do not see their own efforts as being futile or meaningless. They understand that they do have the power to make things happen and take steps to make their dreams a reality.
In contrast, pessimists have a difficult time believing that what they do will make any difference and find it difficult to make any changes or take any actions towards a goal. They find excuses why something that has worked for others will not work for them and believe that anything that they do is doomed to fail. This makes it difficult for them to have a healthy relationship with money or get out of situations that make them unhappy, such as a dead end job that makes them miserable.
Optimists do not internalize failure
When things don’t work out for an optimist, they don’t beat themselves up over it or conclude it’s because they are not good enough. They are able to accept failure as a part of life and try again with a positive attitude. They don’t see themselves as doomed to fail and are often better able to learn from their mistakes as they don’t see it as coming from something fixed, such as stupidity or incompetence but rather from something that they can change such as needing more education or practice.
When pessimists do take chances and fail, they have a hard time not blaming themselves and concluding that this is the way that it has to be. One defeat can leave them reluctant to try again for months and years and can leave them with a profound sense of being unworthy or completely at the mercy of others.
How you can become more optimistic
It’s important to realize that optimism is not a result of being too foolish to understand risks or born out of arrogance or a sign of being simple-minded. Optimists are just as intelligent and perceptive as pessimists; the difference is where they place their focus.
By making a conscious effort towards more optimistic thinking, you’ll be better able to take opportunities that have the potential to make you happy and to cope with any financial setbacks that come your way, including those that you have no control over such as a recession or natural disaster.
Here are some tips to help you think more optimistically:
• Recognize that doing nothing is often as risky as taking action.
• Realize that a positive outcome is just as realistic as a negative one.
• Understand that your failures are not because you are flawed as a person.
• Look for ways that you can take action to make your situation better.
• Embrace the fact that life is an adventure.
• Take comfort in knowing that even when you are in a miserable situation that you can take steps to make the future better.
Optimism is not pie in the sky thinking but rather a way of looking at the world with the knowledge that positive outcomes are a reality, that individuals can take actions to increase their own happiness and financial well being and that failing at something does not make you a failure.
Tracy O’Connor is a staff writer at Money Ning, a personal finance blog with a focus on empowering people to make their financial dreams a reality.
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