We can all learn to be more optimistic. Pessimistic people can be trained to be more optimistic. The following are certain techniques that can assist you to achieve this goal as offered by Pieter Van Jaarsveld.
- Do not dwell on adversity or failure. Note that failure is a learning experience that can help you develop and become more successful. In the face of setbacks, do not dwell on the situation. Make a firm decision to tackle the problem and then move on. Say, for example, you have made a mistake that cannot be rectified at the moment, take “time out,” and think of when you will tackle the problem, and then put the matter to rest.
- Take responsibility for failure. There is no disputing the fact that we all have a response-ability, or as Frankl suggested, we can choose our reaction. Think of a situation where you have experienced failure. What elements do you need to assume responsibility for? Own them, accept responsibility for them, learn from them, take positive action and continue the road to success.
- Deliberately choose to have the right response. If you allow yourself to become a victim of your past, you will be held hostage by your own emotions of anger and bitterness. Past experiences can make your life either richer or poorer. You really do have a choice. If you choose to dwell on the past, you set yourself up for pessimistic behaviour.
- Try to add value to the lives of people. If you begin putting others first in your life, you will be better able to overcome your own setbacks.
- Change the three Ps. Once again, the three Ps of pessimism are permanency, pervasiveness and personalisation. When we change our mindset, we can move away from learned helplessness and pessimism towards optimism.