Menu
Log in

The Centre for Optimism

Log in

Optimists and their Optimism

Inspiring quotes from people answering our question, "What makes you Optimistic?"    We thank them for sharing them with us for our books, this website and social media.

Professor Jee Hyun Kim, The Florey Institute

"Optimism is the evidence for the dreams yet to be realised.”


Armando Gonzalo Alvarez Reina, Ambassador of Mexico to Indonesia

“Optimism is precisely what we need more in these times.”


Catherine Tanna, Managing Director of EnergyAustralia

“Without optimism, what are we? With optimism, we can be anything.”


Professor Jane Den Hollander AO, former Vice-Chancellor, Deakin University

“My experience is that optimism stimulates curiosity, enables inclusion and drives a determination to do better than yesterday. Optimism is the harder journey, pessimism provides a way out and a rationale for doing nothing.”

Balys Stankunavicius

"In a dramatically changing world, optimism is a tonic to strengthen our challenge to contribute and construct."

Greg Hunt, Minister for Health, Government of Australia

"Optimism is the indispensable element to success. It may not guarantee success as hard work and planning also have to be involved.  But the absence of it will almost always prevent success"

Dr Suzy Green, Founder & CEO, The Positivity Institute

“Whilst the scientific community now better understands the key ingredients of a flourishing life and a flourishing world include the cultivation of gratitude, compassion and forgiveness - it is optimism and hopefulness that will help us sustain our energy and motivation to create better lives and a better world.  We’re not talking about unrealistic or rose-coloured optimism but optimism that supports persistence in the face of negativity, resistance and adversity.”


Tony Frencham, Group Managing Director, New Energy at WorleyParsons

Humanity always provides breakthrough and uplifting moments when optimistic.”

Mauro Oretti, Vice President, SkyTeam Airline Alliance

“I find that there is a strong correlation between optimism and non-violence. Allowing ourselves to unceasingly look at the bright side of things, even when circumstances seem to suggest the opposite, drains our thought patterns from negativity – often the root cause behind violent behaviors – hence encouraging a more equipoised attitude towards the fundamentally benign nature of our universe.”

Maureen Metcalf, Founder & CEO Metcalf & Associates, Author, Radio Host

“Optimism is the fuel that powers our vision and aspirations. The combination of worth vision, passion and optimism make almost anything possible. During challenging times, by surrounding ourselves with people who possess this combination we will find joy in the struggles and create a positive outcome, even if not what was originally planned.”

Kerry Anderson, Author of 'Entrepreneurship: It's Everybody's Business!'

“There are only two choices in life. As long as you are prepared to get out of bed every day I believe that you are an optimist. At every point in history, there is 'hardship' of all different forms.  It’s how you deal with it that matters. It is purely and simply up to us. No blaming anyone else!”

Michael Franti, Musician

"I believe the great battle that's taking place in the world isn't between left and right. It's between cynicism and optimism. There are people who believe it's possible to create a better life and a better world. When we lose that sense of optimism is when we quit, when we give up."

Mark Stone AM, recently-retired Chief Executive of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“When you approach the optimism intersection always choose the green arrow and each day ask, what are the big challenges I can tackle today and how big a difference can I make!”


Molly Crockett, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford

“Compassion leaves its fingerprints on our beliefs about the world. We are not only optimistic about our own futures, but also the futures of those we care about. We are even optimistic about the lives of strangers, insofar as we extend our circle of concern to include distant others.”


Prathibha Prahlad, Founder of the Delhi International Arts Festival and Bharata Natyam dancer

One of the simplest rules of optimism - smile. Even though your heart may be sad when you smile you move energy in a positive direction."

“Optimism is to believe that the next day will be better than the last and that the next people you meet  will treat you better, that no matter how hard and how tempestuous the journey, you will reach the shore intact & smiling."


Murli Thadani, Kiroyan Partners, Jakarta, Indonesia

“Optimism and positive energy are the platforms by which our lives are fruitfully enriched when sensibly channelised.”

Professor Jan Blacher, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"It's in the face of stress when optimism really becomes important.  A mom that has a high level of optimism is going to be able to better weather stress and be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead."

Jeff Kerr-Bell

“Optimism is the only essential ingredient in all significant achievement. Apologies in advance for the auto references, but all things that are worthwhile have challenges, speed humps and barriers to overcome. It is the torque that helps drives leaders and others to overcome those barriers. Optimism, shared and well communicated, helps us believe that a vision for the future can be achieved, and compels us forward when negativity and pessimism apply the brakes.  Optimism I believe is the foundation of one of my favourite quotes from Calvin Coolidge "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."


Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC, Chancellor, Australian National University

“I continue to be, and describe myself, as that most unusual and perhaps implausible of creatures in this day and age – an incorrigible optimist. I am acutely conscious that always looking on the bright side lends itself to parody, as Monty Python fans will hardly need reminding. But what I offer throughout, in every one of the policy areas in which I have been immersed, are essentially two kinds of explanations for my evident naivete.  The first is that, however bad things may seem to be, they often don’t look quite so bad when looked at from a longer historical perspective – that’s true of conflict generally, mass atrocity crimes, civil violence, major human rights violations, and certainly of poverty – and there is usually at least some objective ground for thinking there may be a way of solving, or at least containing the problem in question. Will Kim Jong-un ever really be the first to attack anyone when he knows that to be homicidal is to be suicidal? And with all the checks and balances, constraints and push backs now visibly at work against Donald Trump there seems reasonable ground for believing that the present US presidential horror- show will not careen completely out of control.  My second explanation is a more basic one. I have found throughout my public life that as a practical matter, optimism is not self-fulfilling, but it is certainly self-reinforcing, just as pessimism is self-defeating. If you believe an enterprise is bound to fail, you won’t even begin trying to push the envelope. Achieving anything of lasting value in public life is difficult enough, but it is almost impossible without believing that what seems out of reach really is achievable. The bottom line is simply that I would prefer to live life an optimist and periodically be proved wrong than live as a pessimist and always be right.”


Daniel McClintock, Head of Product, Vocus Communications

"The best optimist is one who sees their failures as opportunities to learn, who views an understanding of their weaknesses as a guide to their strengths, and who looks at difficult times as an occasion to identify where they need to grow, in short, an optimist is someone who strives every day to become a better version of themselves."

David Markus, CEO, Combo Business IT

“Choice is the luxury afforded by good planning and execution. First, have the optimism to set a worthwhile plan and then motivate yourself and others to execute in a timely manner to achieve the amazing results humanity is capable of. From this will stem life choices others only wish they could make.”

Professor Erwin Loh, Group Chief Medical Officer, St Vincent's Health Australia 

Be an optimist, and be relentless in pursuing the beacon of hope, so that you are always moving towards the light that will guide you, shine on you, and keep the shadows of darkness and despair behind you. You will also make it easier for others to find you, follow you, and be inspired by you. And by moving together in the same positive direction of hope, instead of fear, you can change the world.


Dr John Miller AO FCPA FAICD, Chairman, Boardroom Management

“In all walks of life optimism endures and ensures unusual achievement.”

Akaash Maharaj, CEO of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption

“Optimism is a creed for the brave. Pessimists' and cynics' certainty that nothing can be done gives them a ready excuse to do nothing and to risk nothing. By contrast, the optimist knows that better is always possible, and so he is compelled to make the effort work towards happier ends, even at the risk of disappointment.”

Professor Lindsay Oades, Director Centre for Positive Psychology, University of Melbourne

“Anticipating the future is a central part of what it is to be human.  Optimism fuels us to generate new possibilities and sustains the energy during the journey. Evidence and optimism are a potent combination.”

Ambassador Jeff Bleich, Chair, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board

"Optimism is knowing that, no matter what challenge we face, people acting with good will and effort can improve upon it. This isn't a dream or a wish; it is simply the story of all human progress."

Jane Ollis, Chair, Kent Institute of Directors

“Optimism draws you into the future. It puts you in the right space to create compelling purposeful visions, how to achieve them and then, the icing on the cake, it supplies you with the positive energy and drive you need to deliver them. Like a gentle wind pushing you from behind it steers you around obstacles as they appear in your path and keep you focussed on where you are heading.”

Paul Bayly, Chief Executive Officer. Virgin Islands Recovery & Development Agency

"Optimism is that special quality that gives clarity to some, comfort to others and hope to many. It is immeasurable but tangible, it is indefinable but self-evident; it is unfathomable but something we all want. It is essentially what defines us as human beings; it makes us just want to keep persevering, and it is what gets me get out of bed every morning"

Christian Duperouzel, Conscious Leadership Consultant

“In my experience, optimism is intimately associated with our spiritual awareness. In the absence of an awareness of spirit, life appears drab, lacking in substance and even threatening. Allowing the spirit in to shift these perceptions, optimism emerges from the goodness, beauty and meaning in being that we come to know characterise all forms of life at the most essential level.”

Dr Ross Honeywill, Executive Director, Centre for Social Economics

“Optimistic people have high social intelligence - that ability to use our improbably large brains to successfully navigate complex social situations. Let’s use our social intelligence to invoke a simple world view: Do not be careful what you wish for.“


Dale Simpson, Executive Coach

“The Case for Optimism?  Simply a positive future for all!”

Shane Oliver, Chief Economist, AMP Capital Investors

“While it’s easier and sounds more thoughtful to be a pessimist, if you want to get things done, see your living standard grow, expand your wealth and be happy it pays to be an optimist and to cheer on the optimists around you.”


Tali Sharot

“Controlled experiments have shown that optimism is not only related to success, it leads to success.”

Tristan Russell, Adviser, City of Port Phillip

Optimism, enthusiasm and positivity are infectious, display it, and people will always want to work with you!”


Rob Campbell, Chair of Tourism Holdings

“I see two cases for optimism.  One is the essentially negative case that it is better than its opposite.  The stronger case is that optimism is the force and flow of life.”


Syed Saeed Alam

"Optimism is the powerful elixir of engagement."


Miriam Fisher, Writer and Journalist

Our cognition is generally biased towards optimism as a survival mechanism to ensure the perpetuation of the human race. Each of us experience loss — sickness and death, relationship breakdown, financial or job loss, natural disaster — yet without this bias pushing us forward the cumulative devastation of each setback would eventually prove paralytic. But just how far we move forward depends entirely on the individual. Harnessing the power behind a negative event and guiding it in a positive direction requires the ability to identify and act on the opportunity found in loss rather than dwelling on the loss itself. So while it can be difficult to maintain a positive focus during adversity amid what can sometimes seem a cacophony of negativity, I remain very optimistic about the future. Stagnation is simply too uncomfortable an alternative and there are enough roadblocks in life that are beyond our control to allow self-imposed paralysis to set in.”

Daniel Kahneman, Author

"Optimistic people play a disproportionate role in shaping our lives. Their decisions make a difference; they are inventors, entrepreneurs, political and military leaders - not average people.  They got to where they are by seeking challenges and taking risks"

Sirajuddin Aziz

"Is optimism – a choice? Yes, it is. All of us choose to be either an optimist or a pessimist. Optimism ushers peace from within, while being the other, leads to a turbulent mind, making negative waves, for action or reaction"


General Colin Powell

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier"

Sir Peter Ustinov, Actor and Writer

"The point of living, and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come."

Natalie Foeng, CFO, Yarra Valley Water

"Optimism is so important because it opens up new experiences and new possibilities. It is the catalyst for conquering our fears and chasing our dreams. Our future successes and our well-being depend on it."

Albert Einstein

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

“Then do not stop to think about the reasons for what you are doing, about why you are questioning. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity. Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives.”

Curt Fowler, Values Driven Results

“Optimism and gratitude are the keys to a happy and successful life. They are antidotes to stress, greed and fear. Whenever you feel any of those negative emotions coming on you replace those thoughts with gratitude. Your gratitude will lead to optimism which leads to happiness which leads to success.”


Rashidi Sumaili

"What makes an optimist is the understanding that there’s not a permanent problem or enemy in one’s life. I am an optimist and dream positively with conviction & focus on the feeling of hope"


Warren Lloyd, Director, Lower Murray Water

“As a director of a Rural Water Authority and a farmer I know the true value of optimism as a commodity.  Over the years farmers have a catalogue of good and bad seasons to draw from.  However it is the quest to improve and the optimism of a better year ahead that is the driving force that sustains.”

Paul Bayly, Chief Executive Officer. Virgin Islands Recovery & Development Agency

"Optimism is that special quality that gives clarity to some, comfort to others and hope to many. It is immeasurable but tangible, it is indefinable but self-evident; it is unfathomable but something we all want. It is essentially what defines us as human beings; it makes us just want to keep persevering, and it is what gets me get out of bed every morning"

Lydia Dishman, Journalist

Optimism is our best chance to be alive instead of just live.”

James Marape, Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea

“You have to be optimistic in life to achieve success. You can’t be successful without optimism.”

Anna-Marie Southern, IACCM

"Optimism is a gift; one which we are able to give to ourselves. I think it is the root of aspiration, and therefore movement and growth.”

Lynette Mayne AM, Owner + Executive ChairWork Wear World

Optimism is life itself – it inspires and helps us to be innovative and passionate. It creates the drive to do amazing things, to always raise the bar.  Quite frankly, what would we do without it?”

Peter Beattie AC, former Premier of Queensland

“Goodwill and optimism can change the world. It is easy to be negative but more constructive to be positive. No society grows without optimism”

Professor Gareth Evans AC QC,  Chancellor,  Australian National University

“Optimism may not be self-fulfilling, but it is self-reinforcing, just as pessimism is self-defeating. Achieving anything of lasting value in public life is difficult enough, but it is almost impossible to do so without believing that what seems to be out of reach really is achievable. I would certainly prefer to live as an optimist and often be wrong, than to live as a pessimist and always be right.”

Dr Helen Szoke

We don’t have the luxury of not being optimistic.  There is too much in the world that needs optimism as the force for good and the motivation for change to make the world a better place.  Yes let’s analyse what is wrong and what needs to be done, but then be optimistic that we can make change.  If we don’t have optimism then we don’t have hope!

Doron Ben-Meir, Chairman of University of Melbourne Commercial

“The case for optimism is very simple…without optimism there is no motivation and without motivation at best we exist, but we do not live! So for all those that want to live…there is no choice but optimism.”

Ross Dawson, Futurist, Keynote Speaker and Author

"The ONLY way we can create a better future for ourselves, our community, our organisations and humanity is to be optimistic. Optimism is absolutely not believing blindly that things will get better on their own. Optimism is believing that it is possible to create a better tomorrow if we do the right things today. Unless we have that belief we will simply give up. Only with optimism do we have a real chance of creating an amazing future for humanity."


David Gardner , Co-Chairman at The Motley Fool

Optimism is not just a state of mind. It’s a creative force. Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you cannot, you’re right.” 

I think you can.

Professor Gabriele Oettingen, Professor of Psychology at New York University

“High optimism will predict high effort and success."

Graeme Chipp, Partner, Strategic Partners Group

“Life is precious and each day worth savouring. The human spirit is the source of much optimism.”

Cheryl Batagol, Chair, Environment Protection Authority (Victoria, Australia)

The case for optimism centres around the human condition and the unconscious bias towards optimism of us humans but also because we have a driving need to make a difference to our bit of the world, to leave the world in a better place.”


Steve Wozniak "The Woz”, Co-founder, Apple Computer

“H = S - F.  Happiness = Smiles - Frowns. Find ways to smile and enjoy life, but don’t frown. Don’t argue. Don’t let small things get to you. Just figure out the best path to move forward constructively. When you see pessimists, be glad that you are better with your optimism. Spread this thinking about optimism to young people. After about age 23 your personality is settled and you can’t change it just with logical reasoning.”

Professor Elaine Fox, Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain

“Optimists tend to persevere even when it seems like the whole world is against them.”


Joseph Ghaly, Leadership Coach

“Optimism is that quiet voice in our head reminding us that we are on track toward our goals. It is a refreshing consciousness that everything is going to be alright. Optimism is a state of mind and a choice. It is my choice of mindset. Is it yours? Wherever you are enroute towards your goals, whichever stop or traffic light, take a moment to be conscious of your aim. This should be an enlightening experience, refreshing your optimism about your personal motivation and original game plan. It does take energy and effort to turn on the positive or optimistic switch in our brain. That effort is well rewarded with a happier and more motivated self. And greater attraction to the people and resources who are naturally aligned with our values. Have the guts to go for it and be optimistic!”


Oliver Wiseman, Editor of CapX

“The case for optimism isn’t based on a different estimation of the scale of the challenges we face, but a belief in our capacity to overcome them, whatever their size.  Declinism of the sort that dominates in Britain and across the West is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they want society to succeed, politicians and policymakers surely have a duty to rekindle in themselves the optimism that guides so many people’s lives.”

Joe Biden, former American Vice President

“There is overwhelming reason to be optimistic.”

Professor Catherine Sanderson, Manwell Family Professor of Life Sciences, Amherst College

My latest book "Why We Act" examines why good people so often stay silent in the face of bad behavior, so I've been reading/writing/thinking about why so many people stay silent - but also why some people step up and do the right thing, even when it's really hard. 

And what keeps me optimistic and hopeful is that throughout history, there are people who absolutely do step up and show moral courage, even when those around them do not.  We see this throughout history (e.g., people who risked their own lives hiding and saving Jewish people during the Holocaust) and we see this in the present day (e.g.,children who stand up to bullies, fraternity brothers who step up to stop sexual assault, whistleblowers who report unethical behavior in the workplace). 

And these are the people who inspire me - the people I call "moral rebels".

Lord Blackwell

There is a strong case for optimism...Too much negativity will hold us back. It is time to put past differences behind us, be optimistic about the opportunities & work together to shape a prosperous future”


Ameet Ranadive

“Common sense tells us that success makes people optimistic. But we have seen repeatedly that the arrow goes in the opposite direction as well. Optimistic people become successes. In school, on the playing field, and at work, the optimistic individual makes the most of his talent.  And we now know why. The optimistic individual perseveres. In the face of routine setbacks, and even of major failures, he persists. When he comes to the wall at work, he keeps going, particularly at the crucial juncture when his competition is also hitting the wall and starting to wilt.”

Tony Harding

"It’s about attitude and state of mind! We all have challenges and obstacles to overcome. Embracing optimism and strength of will over adversity can be a game-changer for us and our colleagues - to enable us to achieve our goals in life. I recommend we embrace optimism champions and role models as part of our journey in life."


Other Optimists' Resources

Spread Optimism by sharing this page on social media - click on one of these buttons

Call  Us
+61 417 217 241 (Australia)

+1 415 692 5290 (USA)

Address:
253b Richardson Street
Middle Park, Melbourne
Victoria 3206
Australia

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software