Being an optimist can mean many things. Bert Jacobs in the book “Life is Good” describes optimism as, “A powerful and pragmatic strategy for accomplishing goals and living a meaningful life.” Optimism is broad in the sense that it means to be positive, cheerful, strong-willed, believable, and open-minded. Being an optimist means you are experiencing the world around you with open arms and an eye towards growth and progress. Pessimism is corrosive, realism lacks creativity, and optimism is boundless. Below I list the 2nd and 3rd superpowers to be an optimist:
Superpower #4 Humor:
Humor is most potent and effective when morale is low. A funny joke, line, phrase, or face can raise spirits. It can break tension, reset the table, and refocus people on opportunities that are ahead. It is easy to form trust and bond through laughter.
Humor leads to more unity and productivity in the workplace. Laughter relaxes us, enables us to think more clearly as well as communicate and solve problems more effectively. Ron Burgandy in the movie Anchorman once said, “For just one night, let’s not be co-workers, let’s be co-people.” Laugh, smile, jump up and down.
Teams that laugh together build greater trust and unity, and teams with greater trust and unity perform better. So, laugh at work together, your job will be even more enjoyable, and productivity will increase.
Superpower #5 Gratitude:
It’s nice to stop and reflect on the positives in life. Taking stock of the many people, experience, and things that are good, right, and working well in our lives has an uncanny way of attracting more good. What we focus on grows. Focusing on simple pleasures – on the good we are experiencing here, now, today – can do wonders.
If we don’t do this, we can spend our time defining happiness in terms of “Someday.” Saying things like, “I’ll be happy and grateful when (fill in the blank)” or, “Someday I am going to take the kids to pick pumpkins.” As the saying goes, someday is not a day of the week.
It’s easy to look at the news and think the world is getting worse day by day. There are so many trauma centers across the country, and not one, zero, joy centers. By elevating our awareness of what’s right with the world, instead of focusing on what’s wrong, we come to realize that the keys to happiness are all around us. Being gracious for what we have and not focusing on what frustrates you.
Live life with a “get to” mindset rather than a “have to.” I “get to” go to work today, I “get to” pick my kids up from school, I “get to” cook dinner tonight and fold the laundry. This is a consistent reminder to be grateful. Some people may feel burdened by daily tasks and commitments “have tos.” it’s possible to change your mental mind set and turn them into “get tos.” Once again, the choice is ours.
Grateful people are happier, more open and sociable, less depressed and neurotic, and express higher levels of satisfaction with their lives and relationships. Grateful people have higher levels of personal growth and self-acceptance, and they have stronger coping skills for the challenges and setbacks they experience. They are more willing to seek out help from others and demonstrate the ability to interpret challenging events in ways that help them grow.
Thanksgiving should be celebrated every day. Young and old, everyone gets it: we gather to give thanks. There is nothing confusing about it, or gifts or excessive hype that can weigh it down. Everyone comes together to give thanks. After times of tragedy which there is so much of, it is okay to mourn what we've lost, but we can also cherish what we still have.
Blake Kraussel, Director of Administration and Employee Development