3 Ways to Harness the Power of Optimism

Are you in the middle of your own pity party? Life is stressful, and it’s not that hard to find a reason to complain. But if you spend too much time on the things that get your down, you may develop a habit that’s hard to break. A negative mindset can impact your life and the lives of those around you.

The secret ingredient to gaining a more positive attitude is optimism. You can harness this powerful mindset through a shift in perspective.

That’s exactly what Jake Javier did. At 18, Jake was set to play football at California Polytechnic State University when he dove into a pool on graduation day. His head hit the shallow end and Jake suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. In just one moment, his life changed forever.

From the start, Jake decided he wasn’t going to waste time feeling sorry for himself. Instead, he shifted his perspective in 3 key ways to harness the power of optimism:

  1. Remember where you came from

When life gets you down, remind yourself where you came from in comparison to where you are now. Even if you’re in a rough patch, looking back at your past accomplishments can provide a valuable shift in your perspective.

Perhaps your department gave the promotion to someone else. But don’t forget the one you received a couple years back. You may want to lose a few pounds. But remember how much stronger and healthier you are this year than last.

When you remember where you came from, you’ll realize how much you’ve gained. This helps to cultivate gratitude as well as give you momentum for the future.

  1. Focus on the future

Speaking of the future, the next shift in perspective is a focus on what’s to come. If you stay forward thinking you can harness optimism much easier than when you stay stuck in the moment.

Back to that pity party. What if things just aren’t going as planned? Even better! It’s time to adopt a ‘When one door closes, another one opens’ mindset. When you do, you’ll be able to recognize the opportunities that arise from your setbacks and take them as they come.

  1. Look straight ahead

The final shift in your perspective is to keep your eyes on the path forward. To do so, stay away from 2 games: the ‘what might have been’ and the comparison game. These are dangerous ways to spend valuable time working on a more positive attitude.

Here’s an example of how to avoid each:

What might have been: You don’t get the job. There’s absolutely no value in replaying what your life would be like if you had. In fact, you’re wasting time better spent preparing for the job you do take. Make a game plan and forge ahead.

Comparison: All your friends seem to be in the perfect relationship and yours just tanked. You find yourself sizing up their success to your failure. This mindset won’t get you any closer to your soulmate. Remember that the grass is always greener. Focus on what you can do and don’t worry about anyone else.

Instead of weighing alternative scenarios or comparing yourself to others, look straight ahead. Focus on what you want and go get it.

Don’t let a negative mindset hold you back. Harness the power of optimism and take hold of the opportunities that await.