Anticipation + Joy = Optimism
"If you anticipate success, you are more likely to start, focus and therefore succeed"Taking a quick look at Pluchik’s Emotion Wheel gets us the formula, Anticipation + Joy = Optimism. Anticipation is looking forward with expectation and prediction, whilst joy is a feeling of happiness. An optimist is therefore someone that predicts a happier future. Both anticipation and joy are considered positive emotions and so optimism is positive.
Now that we have a perhaps simplistic definition of optimism, it is a little easier for us to define if we are an optimist. An optimist can of course have moments of doubt. That feeling of uncertainty, “am I doing the right thing”, perhaps a lack of conviction.
The likelihood of you being an optimist is high, because you are choosing to read this. We have a tendency to be attracted to subjects we already agree with, as they validate our understanding of the world. Neurologically, if you were not already an optimist, you would have already switched off or you would be thinking about arguments to prove this wrong.
Two further words are in the Emotions Wheel that add up to optimism, are serenity and interest. Serenity is a nice emotion to have, being a combination of calm, untroubled and peaceful. Interest is to be curiosity, wanting to learn more. These emotional states can anchor optimists in reality, which is important. At the end of the day ask yourself a couple of questions, what did you learn today and what did you enjoy today.
How an optimist measures success
If you have a predefined set of criteria that can be measured, you can accurately say how successful something was. It is a good idea, to set goals that are possible to meet. You may have been way off, near, met or exceeded a goal, but how do you view the result?
The reasons for that success, may be more subjective, which is where an optimist will always win. That is because the optimist will be more likely to view the reasons it succeeded being down to things that they did, rather than luck or things in the world around them, like an upturn in the market or other favourable conditions.
This positive reenforcement will feed back into a more optimistic view of the future.
It is a really good practise to imagine how you would feel, once you have succeeded and write it down, then compare that to your actual feelings in the future.
Why are optimists more likely to succeed
This is another self fulfilling positive reenforcement for optimists. It is the simple fact that, if you anticipate success, you are more likely to start. When you start something, you believe in its success and it succeeds, it reenforces your belief in yourself.
When you make a decision to start something, it is a positive choice. You will then focus your attention on making it a success. This focus will peak your interest. As having a sense of purpose is often believed to be more important than happiness. For example, you may not enjoy your job but if it gives you a real feeling of purpose and vocation that may be more important than happiness.
Are some people naturally more optimistic
Yes, although it is not all genetic. We can shape our minds, changing the chemistry over time. If it is about 25 percent genetics then, 75 percent is up to you to affect.
Foods that can make you more optimistic
It appears that sugar may be able to block or suppress optimism. There have been many studies on mood where reducing or removing sugar from a diet can improve mood. As optimism is a positive state, it makes sense that there is a correlation.
Good nutrition, healthy, varied, fresh, organic etc. If you are looking for numbers, thirty different fruits, vegetables, nuts and seasonings per week equals varied.
Optimism can be a choice. It can be increased over time and be improved with practise.
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