"Optimism: The How and Why"'s Optimists on Their Optimism
Frances Adamson, Secretary, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
“My Aunt Nancy, now in her nineties, recently wrote to one of our children in hospital: “My prayer for you is to be optimistic. Remember - dark clouds pass and blue skies follow.” That’s true in life, but in international relations optimism needs to be harnessed to policy development, advocacy, consensus building and effective implementation in order to produce outcomes which support peace and prosperity. Blue skies are infinitely preferable to dark clouds and that is why I am, personally and professionally, an active optimist!”
Professor David Bowtell, Ovarian Cancer Research
“Who wouldn’t be optimistic! In 100 years we have progressed from the first identification of distant galaxies and the concept of relativity, to being able to detect neutron stars colliding and disrupting the fabric space, using detectors of extraordinary precision. A little over 50 years has passed since the structure of DNA was first described and now we can read and interpret the genomes of any organism on Earth in just a few hours. We have become a super organism, where the components – us – have become connected with increasing speed and inclusion; first by voice, then print, and now the internet. When harnessed for good, the possibilities for humanity as a collective are unimaginable.”
Johan Norberg, Author, ‘Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future’
I am not an optimist because mankind just happen to be lucky, by coincidence, but because we have built a social and political infrastructure for luck. The more eyeballs that look at problems, and the more brains that can think about how to solve them, the more problems will be solved. And in an open world, with more people than ever, living longer than ever, with more access to knowledge and with more freedom to communicate, collaborate and trade than ever, we have in effect created the biggest problem-solving machine the world has ever seen.
Dr Robyn Stokes
“Optimism is the only mindset. It has urged us to fly into the sky and beyond, see a tiny window of time or space to make a difference, seize it, fail and try again - in our hearts we know we can be ‘third or fourth time lucky’. Inspiration comes from big and small things and just taking a few vital minutes to consider what’s missing in the mundane. Inspiration comes from those before us and after us, from words and action and from what is left unsaid or undone. It is young people cleaning up our oceans patch by patch, building new communities, changing the workplace and sweating less small stuff. It is old people telling stories of what they have conquered and all of us taking the time once in a while ‘to pick up our own opportunities and turn them over like seashells to listen and really hear the sea’.”
Chris Reddy, Leadership Coach
"What makes me optimistic? It's pretty simple. It's all about appreciating the small things, accepting the setbacks, grasping opportunities and being grateful for the family and friends in my life."
Professor Paul Mazerolle, President, University of New Brunswick
“Optimism for the future is the recognition that our progress as a global community requires human ingenuity, creativity, innovation, knowledge, partnerships, tolerance and values. Progress is not inevitable. It requires commitment, actions over words, good deeds over promises, as well as proactive responses and co-active efforts. Despite the challenges and setbacks across the 20 century, the achievements over the past hundred years are remarkable. I am optimistic for the future because of my fundamental belief in the skills, values, and commitment of people to make a difference for the world, supported by the wider community in enacting or supplying resources and conditions to enable human flourishing to endure. Long may it continue!”
Tracy McLeod Howe, CEO, NSW Council of Social Service
“Persistent optimism is a must in my line of work. It's what drives a good advocate. Optimism that we can make our world better, optimism that others will join our drive for change, optimism that each of us has the power to make a difference. And you never know when that optimism will have a breakthrough. Give everything a try once, I say. Be comfortable with failing. Better to say, "ok, that didn't work – what's next," than to be constantly saying, "that won't work.””
Fabian Dattner, Leadership Expert
“Ultimately optimism is founded on the premise that something better is possible and that there is always a better way to look at life and see options, at least one of which sparkles. Victor Frankl, the author of ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, thought it was because there was something yet to be done in life and this belief enabled people to survive in the most awful of places. For myself I just can’t imagine not trying to build a better world, doing my bit to sow the seeds of possibility. So at heart I am optimistic... or possibly mad! I prefer the former.”
John Stanhope, Chancellor, Deakin University
"I am extremely optimistic about our future because the creativity of people always finds a way to solve problems and change things for the better. History shows that while many problems seem insurmountable optimistic creative people make the difference. New jobs will be created, new industries will emerge and an exciting new future will continue to evolve"
Andrew Liveris, Chair, The Dow Chemical Company
“In many cases, globalization and capitalism has been a force for good. At the same time, a substantial part of humanity has been left behind by growth that has been uneven and inequitable, creating a global environment marked by anger, violence, inequality, and divisiveness. Despite all of this, I remain as optimistic as ever. Today’s world is abundant with opportunity to collaborate in new ways, creating positive change and solutions that protect the planet and provide hope to millions of people who feel that the world has forgotten them. To use a math metaphor, we can choose to live on the numerator, a person who adds to and multiplies the good versus living on the denominator as someone who subtracts, or worse, divides. If we embrace this opportunity and collaborate to solve some of the biggest challenges facing society, we truly can positively impact the lives of billions of people, making life better for themselves, their loved ones, and the communities around them.”
Anne Crawford, Healthcare Consultant and Philanthropist
“I am very optimistic for our future. Worldwide we are seeing an improvement in people's health. Longer lifespans and more equity in wealth. The near eradication of polio is very exciting. But we still have human rights issues we need to work on. But we are discussing these issues more widely.”
Adam Bowcutt, Psychologist
“I am very optimistic and excited about the future. The opportunities that will be created as a result of technology and its integration into everyday life will be great. Barriers to entry and opportunity have been reduced due to easy access to the internet and online communities. The basis for my answer is from vision and logic and a healthy, non-fearful approach. The natural human ability to learn and adapt quickly will be valuable. Will there be big challenges? Yes. Bring on these challenges!”
Rose Godde, Arts Leader
"I am optimistic for the future because: At the heart we humans are a solutions driven species; Empathy is the core driver for human survival; and, each generation sees the world afresh calling out the past generation's failures and successes within the context of their own changing times."
“I am a stubborn optimist. Nothing gets done without optimism. Have you known a breakthrough that started with pessimistic thoughts about its potential? But our optimism cannot be naïve and ignorant: We must acknowledge the many challenges along the way, not as road blockers, but as challenging invitations to find a better path.”
Dr Elliot F Eisenberg, President and Chief Economist, GraphsandLaughs, LLC
“While many are pessimistic about the future, reality suggests that optimism is most appropriate. We are living longer, safer and better lives than ever before. Poverty, while still a problem, is less of a problem than ever before. Diseases that killed millions are being eradicated. And, the percentage of the global population that live in nations that are democratic is near an all-time high. This is a great time to be alive and I look forward to the medical and technological breakthroughs that are around the corner. People do great things every day.”
“Optimism? The broad sweep of history shows we are more prosperous, peaceful and equal than at any time in history. Yes, we have our issues (the biggest one is climate change) but humanity is getting better”
Rick Wartzman, Drucker Institute
"Being optimistic doesn't mean ignoring the many difficult challenges that society is up against. It means facing them head on while believing, deep down, that we have the capacity and compassion to take on these challenges and ultimately lick them. It means believing in our collective ability to triumph over adversity."
Kerry Vincent, Sugar Art Queen and Television Compere
“Conventional wisdom is that the world is cloaked in clouds of fear, inequity, discrimination violence and poverty. No matter how optimistic one can be these things lurk in the background screaming to be fixed. Generations of prejudice and cultural misbehavior are beginning to break down little by little as new age optimists bite the bullet and address issues head on. I have great faith in the youth of the world I expect them to push back and bury the mistakes of the past. For me, I have always been an optimist and a risk taker, how else could I have found my way from the red dirt in Australia to a career that I love in the US, and to be in a position to help others achieve their dreams.”
Peter Schechter, Altamar: A Foreign Affairs Podcast.
“It’s easy to be a pessimist in this world. Too easy to forget the spreading prosperity of formerly poor countries. Too easy to overlook that more people are eating better than ever before. That education is more widely available. And disease more easily curable across countries. So, as we read headlines about xenophobia, violence, refugees and discontent, let’s not forget that there is not only a case for optimism. There is a cause for optimism.”
Juliet Bourke, Deloitte
“I don’t know why I am an optimist, but clearly I am. It could stem from an innate nature or how I have been nurtured, or perhaps both? What I do know is that I have an inner belief in the goodness of other people, and I think that is intertwined with my optimistic outlook. I heard someone say recently ‘There are a lot of reasons to be cynical, but we don’t have time. All I see is potential to improve’. I can relate to those sentiments. It’s not that I don’t apply a lens of critical analysis – I do – but I have an unshakeable faith that ultimately things will work out and bad times are temporary.”
Stephanus Cecil Barnard, University of Southern Queensland
“I am deeply optimistic. I see the calamity in world politics and our elected representatives as the jump start we needed to know we need to care for ourselves. Too many people believe it is the government's job, and therefore never excel or push their boundaries (the one problem with rich countries ); I also believe robotics and artificial intelligence will change the world in a dramatic manner. I see our biggest challenge will be ongoing consumption for the sake of want and not need.”
Nick Smit, International Affairs Expert
“I am optimistic for the future of the world’s population as rising education standards, nutrition, disease control, birth control and employment, particularly in hitherto impoverished regions, are leading to a better life for more people. I am worried by the tendency of many in the developed world to want everything to stay the way it is now, e.g. to stop replacing native growth with rural development and rural by urban development. People seem to be happy live on cleared bushland but refuse to allow anyone else to clear bushland to live on. A major challenge for leaders of the future is to find the right balance between development and conservation which will be key to improving global living standards and thus, happiness. Too many in the developed world are fearful of change at a time when the rate of change, particularly in the case of technological change, is accelerating rapidly.”
Mike McRoberts, News Anchor at TV3, New Zealand
“Optimism is having faith in the destination when you have no idea how you are going to get there. I believe if you travel your journey in an optimistic way you can overcome any obstacle.”
“I am optimistic about our future because despite so much darkness there are still those who choose to illuminate our world by being lamplighters, igniting one soul at a time. "
Paul Lehmann, Australian Ambassador
"We live in an imperfect world, but when you meet as many talented, generous and resilient people as I do every day, the case for optimism very often makes itself."
“Gratitude for what nature has given me makes me optimistic. Very simple good things happening to me in my daily journey of life make me happy and grateful and optimistic."
“I am always optimistic and have a positive attitude. If you didn't what’s the point of living. Life is a challenge and you have your up moments and down moments but you keep on going.”
Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
"Serving the people living in the regions is what keeps me optimistic, even in the toughest of days. These people have put their trust in me to fight and deliver for our local communities, and I will always speak up for them loudly.”
Bob Brown, former Leader of the Australian Greens
“Optimism, like pessimism, feeds on itself. In my earlier years I spent a decade or more deeply pessimistic and depressed. Even though it was a reasonable reaction to the way the human world malfunctions, it wasn’t an enjoyable way to live. These days I am an optimist and I like it. It is also a reasonable option because optimism is a key ingredient for any successful human endeavour -and isn’t keeping earth viable the greatest endeavour we can never undertake?”
Dr Melissa Geraghty
“What makes me optimistic is knowing that there is an ebb and flow in life, nothing is permanent. There is comfort in that."
Helen Keller, Author
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail. I try to increase the power God has given me to see the best in everything and everyone and make that Best a part of my life.”
Robert Safian, Editor in Chief, Fast Company
“I am a believer in the power of optimism, the drive and creativity that possibility can engender. I believe in it not the way a child would, but knowing full well the perils and pitfalls that the world can put in your path. Today there is much to be anxious about when we get up each day. Uncertainty reigns as rapid change disrupts expectations and social norms. Global leadership is fractured and economic conditions fluctuate widely. Specters loom, from climate change to cyberterrorism. The relentless pace can make you want to curl up in a corner, wary of what might come next. Or you can stare unblinkingly at this time of chaos and dig into the difficult work of building a better tomorrow.”
Chuck Swindoll, Insight for Living Ministries
“When you have vision it affects your attitude. Your attitude is optimistic rather than pessimistic. Your attitude stays positive rather than negative. Not foolishly positive, as though in fantasy, for you are reading God into your circumstances. So when a situation comes that cuts your feet out from under you, you don't throw up your arms and panic. You don't give up. Instead, you say, "Lord, this is Your moment. This is where You take charge. You're in this."
Julie Hryniewicz, Author
“I choose optimism because I have found that when my mind is set in the right direction, when I am grateful, when I am appreciative and when I am seeking the positive perspective, bright side or blessings in all situations, I am more likely to attract positive things, opportunities and situations into my reality”
Christina Pagano, Pagano and Company Public Relations
“I do remain confident in the basic goodness of the citizens of the world, most of whom wake up in the morning, and regardless of where they live or under what circumstances, aim to do the best they can in the course of the day. And in many cases, execute remarkable acts of kindness. I see that in New York City every day.”
Bill Ghormley, Xconomy
“The motto for the city of St. Andrews: Dum Spiro, Spero = while I breathe, I hope. This is the founding principle of my optimism -- while we live, we can always make life better. While this comes from Scotland, this sentiment carries across the globe, especially relevant to Australia, Europe, and the USA, where great melting pots of migrants have redefined society -- and where eternal values need to be embraced.”
Louise McGrath, Global Business Expert
“The Case for Optimism? I was thinking about this question when I was at a meeting with Australia's Trade Negotiators at DFAT. Can you get any more optimistic than negotiating trade deals for future exports? I am very optimistic for the future as I am fortunate to be surrounded by Australian manufacturers who are standing up to take on the world, exporters who are launching into new markets, and all the lovely and optimistic people who make up the ecosystem of support for Australian industry. I am also very fortunate to meet leaders and business people from across Asia pacific. When you think about where countries like Vietnam and South Korea have come from and where they are heading, you can't be anything but optimistic.”
“Whether they own it or not, anyone who fishes is an optimist. Same goes for crabbers and hunters. No doubt each of us possess varying degrees of this trait, but you must be somewhere on that spectrum that fuses hope with confidence in pursuit of what ultimately is a wild thing.”
Dr Marija Maher, The University of Melbourne
“Anyone can become an optimist. In my experience optimism is not synonymous with luck, but using every opportunity and trying, and failing, and trying some more. Like you, I am dismayed about a lack of recognition of the environment in Australia, environment that allows people to have a go. And as an 18-year-old refugee who came to Australia without a word of English and on my own, I know just how lucky this country is. More importantly, I recognise that it took more than luck for me to feel optimistic as a leader and as an Australian. It took determination, hard work, persistence and perseverance. For me, optimism – in leadership and in life – is knowing that you can try at anything, and if it doesn’t work you can pick yourself up and try again.”
Andrew Macleod, Global Australian Humanitarian
“The greatest gift being an aid worker in disaster and conflict zones has given me, is a deeper understanding how lucky we are to have the small things. Drinking water from the tap, crossings on roads, food in supermarkets, and the ability to sit at the MCG surrounded by people passionately supporting opposing teams in a game, but to do so peacefully. With this great good fortune as our base, imagine all that we can achieve when we decide we wish to.”
Josie McLean, Leadership Coach
“I am an optimist and global dynamics such as population growth, continuous economic growth, declining quantity and quality of arable land, declining fish stocks etc. etc. etc. mean that humanity will 'go through the fire ' yet. As we do, we can recall how crisis has drawn out the best in us on many occasions. Drawn out our compassion and willingness to contribute to a greater, common good. Reflect on some irrigators on the River Murray during the drought and how some contributed their water allocations to the environment. Think of the Victorian bushfires etc. Humans also have a great capacity for novelty and creativity. I think we have displayed less capacity for thinking through unintended consequences before we follow through in some major technological advances. Thinking of nuclear capacity here. And also wondering if we have thought through artificial intelligence well enough yet. On one hand a brilliant innovation with capacity for widening social divides if used poorly. A time of paradoxes perhaps…Have we asked and answered the questions 'what is it to be human?' And 'how do we really want to live?' Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should - and yet it seems human arrogance is strong.”
“What makes me optimistic today? I like to zoom out and look at where we've come from, and it's really hard not to be optimistic when you do that. Particularly I think, being a female in our society, you just have to zoom out a little bit - a hundred years - and you can see a huge amount of progress. Zoom out even further, and you can see the progress of mankind, going from our violent, alpha primate programming to using our intellect to develop an ability to evolve ourselves. We, speaking broadly about mankind, have used our own thinking to design transcended capability, shifting our evolutionary path from biological molecules to thought processes. And so I think our challenge is continuing to shift in that positive direction and history has proven that it's at least possible, if not inevitable.”
President Barack Obama
“We have to reject the notion that we’re suddenly gripped by forces that we cannot control. We’ve got to embrace the longer and more optimistic view of history and the part that we play in it. If you are skeptical of such optimism, I will say something that may sound controversial. I used to say this to my staff in the White House, young interns who would come in, any group of young people that I met with, and that is that by just about every measure, America is better, and the world is better, than it was 50 years ago, 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago.”
Anne Crawford, Author and Healthcare Consultant
“I am very optimistic for our future. Worldwide we are seeing an improvement in people's health. Longer lifespans and more equity in wealth. The near eradication of polio is very exciting. But we still have human rights issues we need to work on. But we are discussing these issues more widely. In Australia we are seeing improvements in our First people's lifespans, we are working on an enormous social improvement through the disability insurance scheme, we are more openly discussing human rights issues such as domestic violence, suicide prevention, mental health issues, LGBQTI issues and homelessness to name a few. These discussions are leading to activities that are supportive and directed. I am excited by this and feel we are becoming a more aware and caring society as a result. I see improvements everywhere. There is still much more to do but the work is being done.”
Professor Dimity Dornan, Executive Director, Hear & Say
“I have been blown away by the amazing results obtained by young children using a combination of the Australian-invented bionic ear combined with powerful listening-brain learning. I am now totally optimistic about the possibilities for treating previously untreatable medical conditions successfully with other emerging bionics technologies like the bionic eye, heart, limbs, organs and brains. Trying to analyse this optimism has led me to believe it is a feeling of hope mixed with a firm belief in a strong possibility of success! Optimism is an exhilarating motivator, a vigorous call for personal action and a strength in time of challenge. It is indeed the “wind beneath my wings” as I actively work towards accelerating the industry.”
Madeleine Albright, former USA Secretary of State
“I Am an Optimist Who Worries A Lot”
Strobe Talbott, Brookings Institution
“I would without shame confess to being an optimist. Little by little, with obvious setbacks and mistakes and follies, we the human race, are going to not just make it, but make it better.”
Peter Saul, Futurist
“I think globalised trade is a major driver of my own optimism as, to put it simply, I don’t think countries bomb their customers. I agree with the comment by Peter Whiting that our political leadership never talks about a long term, positive vision for Australia and its place in the world - the common good. Our politicians fight skirmishes over gay marriage, who should build our submarines, what the tax rate should be, etc. These debates are never argued within the context of where we all wish to go as a nation. Ideally there should be a lot of bipartisanship around where we want the nation to be in 25 years time. Perhaps bipartisanship is anathema to the Westminster system of government. If so we should be reinventing government for the 21st century. I often fear that the Westminster system has no mechanism within it for its continual renewal as times change.”
Kevin Kelly, Writer
”Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists"
Bob White, CEO at EB2BCOM
“One of my favourite books of all time is Matt Ridley's "The Rational Optimist", and I have recently read it yet again. The title says it all - I like to think that rationalism and optimism are two of my guiding principles. I believe that it should be required reading for leaders, and particularly parents, teachers, politicians, academics and business people. Add to this a vision for the country's future and a path to get there and it covers most of the key requirements for political leadership. Unfortunately I see little of this in our current crop.”
Arun Bhuta, Director, Slim Money
“I am perpetual optimist. As I believe in what I give is what I will get.”
“I am generally an optimistic person. Some will be more optimistic than me, but on the whole I prefer to look at things optimistically. I believe we will eventually learn from past mistakes and past adversity. In some respects humans will get to a point where they will search again for simple values and try and find some commonality. I guess we do go through these cycles. Will advancements happen? Yes, because we are all still evolving and a work in progress. Humans still have the capacity for wonderment and to learn. What we have to be aware of though, is not losing the connection to our base, to our surroundings and to nature and nurture. Sounds airy, fairy, but that is what can keep us grounded.”
Jodie Ginsberg, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship.
"In a world in which it's easy to feel bombarded by the negative, I am constantly uplifted by the stories of those striving to make the world a better place - through small acts of kindness and grand acts of sacrifice. Human beings are essentially good. Knowing that is enough to champion the case for optimism."
Michelle A. Waters
"What makes me optimistic is the capacity for people to love, learn and change. There is so much goodness inside everyone if we choose to see it, get out of our head and become still on the inside"
Mark Bailey, Goulburn Valley Water
"I feel optimistic because of mankind's continual desire to learn and challenge. It happens throughout our societies. Investigators want to know why, how and if it can be done better. Scientists and engineers are tremendous examples of this thirst"
"I'm optimistic when I think about the good in others. Strive to see the positives. Instead of seeing everything as an obstacle, I see things as challenges. Take that challenge and believe you can create real change."
Michael Rowland, Presenter, ABC TV Breakfast News
"I’m optimistic because it beats the alternative! I have always taken a glass-half-full approach to life because there is no problem that can’t be solved with a dose of positivity and a spirit of cooperation."
Kyle Farris, Leadership Development
“Focusing on the negative isn’t difficult. We’re hardwired to identify threats in our environment and allow them to shape our narrative. For some, it can bury us. It torments our self-perception, our relationships, and our effectiveness. It takes a strong force of will to balance the acknowledgement of a threat with sincere optimism. In that balance, we say, “My environment does not define me; I define my environment.” Optimism, therefore, is not a whimsical notion of ignorance; it is a devotion to be an agent of change in an otherwise entropic world of thought."
"Optimism is a choice I make to see the best in people circumstances and events which in turn manifests into greater opportunities."
"I am an optimist because life has taught me to follow my heart and not to fear being misunderstood. I have come to see that certainty is a luxury and destiny a journey that reveals itself with time. It’s easy to stray off course, to doubt and lose faith. To see compromise as surrender. To feel judged, isolated, even abandoned. But there is always something to hold on to the belief that things will get better. I have come to appreciate that we need people to guide us, those we admire, those we believe in - the heroes that we choose."
Rich Tehrani, Futurist
“I am optimistic because technology has improved the lives of billions and given them more for less. More food, better communication, better shelter, better entertainment and far greater earning power.”
“I believe people can work together to make the future brighter. Not everything is in our control, certainly, but time and again throughout history optimistic people have pulled together and persevered to overcome obstacles and achieve great ends."
"What makes me optimistic? I always think the human spirit is like a Roly Poly Clown who gets knocked down but ends up upright again. The only way is up!"
"Open not broken is my motto. Optimism isn't false perk or cheer. It's the beauty of truth-telling, honesty, and sharing what we've learned climbing mountains, knowing we've cleared some way for those who follow."
"For me, optimism gives the inner confidence that everything will be alright in the end. It is this confidence that drives the motivation and energy to not always accept the status quo."
Luke Bayley, Bush Heritage Australia
"What makes me optimistic is that there are so many beautiful places, moments, and people. We need to actively gravitate and invest our time and energy into these wild, creative and special places."
Bishop Philip Huggins
"What makes me optimistic is that if we are attentive to what we let ourselves think about, it will shape the words that we use so they'll all be poetry, and our actions will create beauty, they will be truthful, and they will be kind"
Jack Zenger, CEO of Zenger|Folkman
“In a few days I’ll turn 86, and I am absolutely convinced that the best days of my life are ahead of me and not behind me.
“People can't control everything that happens to them and around them. We, the optimists, have powers of self-control to respond for the better with a positive mental state. Optimism is a choice which I make and commend.”
“Being an optimist doesn’t mean you ignore tragedy and injustice. It means you’re inspired to look for people making progress on those fronts, and to help spread that progress more widely. If you’re shocked by the idea of millions of children dying, you ask: Who is good at saving kids, and how can we help them do more? This is essentially why Melinda and I started our foundation.”
Andrew Stoner, Former Deputy Premier NSW
“I know I am blessed to be an optimist. My lofty goals in life have been shaped by optimism, it lifts me off the canvas when the inevitable hard knocks come, and it enables me to experience happiness in the little things in life.”
"Optimism is a choice and I like feeling good. In every thought or decision, we have the opportunity to choose the light or the dark. Why not choose the one that feels good?"
Richard Hayward, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
“Despite doom and gloom evidenced in the mainstream media and the apparent lack of progress on democratic and political issues, there is a real sense that individuals and organisations have the capacity to make a difference and to create change that will drive progress forward.”
The Honourable Lindsay Tanner
"The last few decades have seen astonishing progress on many fronts around the world. While we still face many challenges - including overwhelming threats like climate change - any pessimism regarding the twenty-first century is easily cured by examining the twentieth".
Sarah Elaklouk, University of Queensland
“Democracy makes me optimistic and free speech makes me optimistic amongst other things!’
Gay Veale, US Air Force Chief Master Sergeant
“I’m an eternal optimist, and I believe in the power of positivity. Stay focused on the task at hand and realize you’re working toward something bigger than yourself. Stay positive."
"Optimism is hard-work, but it is also magic. I made it a habit. Soon there were a series of events that made me believe that magic happens to those who combine hard work with kindness, positivity and optimism."
Greg Lopez, Murdoch University
“It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair ....
All generations can see different realities. It is optimism that enables each generation to preserve and go on to greater things.”
Steve Linde, editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Report
"Good stories make me optimistic! Elie Wiesel was once asked why God created human beings. "Because He loves a good story.”
Richard Hames, Futurist
"In an age of systemic collapse, environmental breakdown, divisive social media and fear-driven government policies, optimism is an act of rebellion."
James Pearson, CEO Australian Chamber of Commerce
"What makes me an optimist is because I believe in the future. And to believe in the future means that you are always ready to do things today that will make life better, for yourself and for your family and for your community, tomorrow"
Andi Roberts, Leadership Coach
"What makes me optimistic is our capacity for compassion and reflection alongside our capability to change our way of being."
"I’m optimistic because it gives my brain a competitive advantage and allows me to move in the world worrying about things I can control rather than those I can not."
Sarvesh Shashi, Yogi
"The fact that I breathe makes me optimistic."
Denise Hearn, Author
“I am optimistic because every day, thousands of humans help me live my life - both directly and indirectly. From the farmer who harvested coffee beans to the manufacturer who crafted my coffee mug & the restaurateur who seats me in her establishment"
“What makes me optimistic?
Young children and octogenarians
Songwriters and their songs
Scientists and their plans
Bright eyes and a knowing smile
Quiet people laughing together”
Craig Conte, Elevate Services
"I am optimistic because no matter what the political winds are, more and more people are being connected. The more we know, the more we learn, the more we understand, and less and less we are the 'other'."
"What makes me optimistic is knowing that even a single person can make a marked positive difference in the world and that people all over the world do so every day."
"What makes me optimistic is the spark of life-force we all have inside ourselves - the connection to our inner guidance system and to the source that makes anything possible."
Ian Opperman, NSW Chief Data Scientist
“I am optimistic because every day brings new challenges and conquering these challenges is the stuff of life."
"I am optimistic because I believe that I haven't had my best day yet, but I have the potential to do so, and even if today is fantastic, imagine how much better my best day will be when it happens."
Nikki Hutley, Economist, Deloitte Access Economics
"I have to confess I'm not always optimistic. But it's often at the bleakest of times that we see the best of humanity. In the end, I think it's seeing others striving to make the world a better place, inch by inch, that keeps me optimistic and motivated."
Craig Rispin, Futurist
"I'm an optimist because I believe in the future!"
Eloise Grace, Advisory Committee, Centre for Optimism
"Optimism is making the most of every day - be it during work, social catch ups or family time. It's also seeing the beauty all around you, which is everywhere if you take the time to look."
“What makes me optimistic is seeing people coming together and collaborating to solve the world's most pressing problems. Optimism is radical. It is the hard choice, the brave choice. It is about believing that the future can be better than the present.”
Alvin Foo, MD, Reprise Digital
"Optimism is the magic that keeps everything going. It helps us to see opportunities in every problem!"
Lisa Dwyer, Dairy Farmer
"No matter how challenging farming can sometimes be, the first-born calf for the season never fails to bring a renewed sense of optimism for the year ahead!"
John Salter, Disaster Resiliance Consultant
"What makes me optimistic? That humans can exercise free will guided by purpose. History is threaded with struggles - at all levels, from individuals to global efforts - to achieve. That freedom often generates a struggle between opposites, but that is the dialectic we all move forward with."
Richard Neumann, Australian Diplomat
"That we are better off as a race than we have ever been and we have a strong consensus and commitment to address remaining pockets of poverty and starvation, including among the world’s First Nations that remain the most disadvantaged globally, gives me great cause for optimism."
David Thomas, Australian China Expert
"I'm an optimist. Always have been. I like to take people with me on the journey without being too constrained by the potential for failure. There are plenty of people around to show you the potholes"
Dr Paul Zeitz, Co-Founder of SDG Compacts
“An alchemy of clear-eyed optimism mixed with courage is what fuels my drive to pursue justice for all relentlessly, no matter the odds"
Sally Guyer, CEO of The International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM)
"What makes me optimistic is an innate desire to be happy. And I take personal responsibility for being a happy and positive person - for seeing the opportunities and overcoming challenges - not giving up. I guess I’m ambitious too and I’m sure ambition requires optimism."
Paul Dorrington, Energy and Extracts
“Optimism is the ability to face any situation, believe in yourself that you can find a solution to any problem that you will encounter on your journey. As a scientist and engineer however, there is a caution to go with optimism - optimism can blind those who have not prepared or have not sought the very best minds and information currently available or are not fully aware of what has gone before them, so that they can truly apply the facts and knowledge to improve the future. You must first acknowledge the problem, understand it and then seek to solve it.
I remain optimistic that the tide is turning and that the world will look at the past, learn from it and act rapidly – I remain optimistic that we will realise that balance and sustainable equilibrium are more important than growth, that we will reduce the global population to a sustainable level, we will manage and recycle our resources before they are exhausted, we will eliminate pollution of our environment and treasure biodiversity but above all …….. provide knowledge and education to all people to be able to understand, act with rigour, confidence and be optimistic for themselves, to have respect for all life on this planet (and perhaps others one day). Our failed societies in the past have crumbled due to either ideological, political or economic folly, the consumption or destruction of all the resources within their accessible environment or because of an adverse environmental condition – we are no longer geographically isolated in this, we are capable of doing this to the entire world.
If we achieve the goals I have mentioned, then I believe the problems we see as tragic can be prevented – we have the means and technology today to globally provide, not just our basic needs - of housing, safety, food, water, sanitation, health but also deliver on our creative wants and needs for the future and have a healthy, beautiful environment in which to live. I am optimistic that we will not fear the unknown but will embrace it, understand it, protect what is truly important, find balance, look beyond ourselves and find creative, beneficial solutions. This is no easy task …. but that is why we need optimism.”
Matthew Jones, Director, Oldowan
“My optimism is one of my most powerful assets – it brings an extraordinary advantage but also a responsibility to share and develop amongst others – customers, suppliers, partners, employees, peers and the broader industries I am privileged to serve.
"It's also important to consider the global context too. We live in a wonderful age – people are living longer, healthier and happier lives, Technology is radically changing the world, and our evolution. The global community is closer, more accessible and able to communicate across many real-time platforms. Sure this brings challenges and tension, but also development, opportunity and growth.
"How can you not be optimistic in all of this?"
Catherine Barrett, Director of Celebrate Ageing.
"I make a conscious decision every day to be optimistic – I acknowledge the difficulties and challenges and then choose to focus on what there is hope for. It brings joy into my life every day and has enabled me to be more resilient."
Jorden Lam, General Counsel, Hesta
"The privilege I have to make my own choices and the freedom that comes with that choice makes me optimistic about the future and its opportunities."
David Downs, Author of “A Mild Touch of the Cancer"
"I believe you can be an optimist or a pessimist, and whichever one you choose to practise, you’ll probably get really good at it. I choose to be an optimist, and I practise it every day. And - more often than not - things turn out better."
Onisha Patel, structural biologist and artist at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and a Superstar of STEM with Science & Technology Australia
"For me, optimism begins with trying something new and see where it takes you. Regardless of the outcome, it gives you a purpose and a sense of empowerment. Along the way, it is always good to look out for others and make them feel the same."
Sophie Davies, Australian Ambassador to Colombia & Venezuela
"My optimism comes from my belief in humanity, that most of us want to do good for each other, and the future is our destiny!"
"Optimism is knowing that there is a grander purpose in everything."
Dr Sanam Mustafa, Molecular Pharmacologist and a ‘Superstar of STEM’
“In research, ‘failed’ experiments, rejected manuscripts or unsuccessful funding applications can take their toll. I have learnt to deal with this by beginning each day with an optimistic outlook. Each day brings new opportunities, so start each day with the intention to find these. Dwelling on the past will only distract you!”
Professor Tim Cummins, President, IACCM
"I am optimistic because of the past. Looking back over history, humanity has faced many challenges and taken many wrong turns, yet its progress in raising the quality of life has been nothing short of remarkable.”
Cr Samantha McIntosh, Mayor of Ballarat
"Optimism gifts us the potential to make nothing something and something wonderful."
Rohini Kappadath, General Manager, The Immigration Museum.
"Being an optimist means investing energies in figuring out how something can be done, rather than why it can’t be done. Hope, confidence and optimism are the vital ingredients to achieving big goals."
Iruka A. Ndubuizu, LL.M
"What makes me optimistic? I think I was born to be optimistic. I was born and named Iruka, which means the future is greater. I was born at the time of famine and war in Nigeria, and with a name like that, there's only one place to go, but forward and progressive. So my faith and my name, Iruka, which means the future is greater, is what makes me the ultimate infectious optimist that I am today."
"As a woman and a mother, with no tertiary education and entering politics at middle age, to the right of the political aisle, Optimism was about the best ally I had. It’s really just another word for belief."
"I have been an optimist since I was a child. I know that life is short and every day full of wonder and beauty, best not to waste a single moment!"
Spread Optimism by sharing this page on social media - click on one of these buttons