Optimism, like pessimism, is infectious. So make a point to maximise your time spent with optimistic people.
Negative and pessimistic people sap your energy. There will be times when you have to spend time with them - they may be family, old friends and work-colleagues. However, try to spend the rest of your time with positive and optimistic people.
Generally, optimists attract other optimists, and those other optimists will boost your own optimism, joy and happiness. It can become a virtuous circle, but you first need to seek it out or set it up.
Choose your company wisely and limit the time you spend with people who do not fill your cup of optimism and self-confidence. Lead the conversation with positive questions. Prepare for gatherings by bringing to mind positive stories you have heard or read recently.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex says ”it’s so important to surround yourself with people who are grounded and really optimistic.”
Paul Wheelton AM KSG told me, “My success in business has come about by only associating with positive people. Avoid the glass half empty people - they drain your energy and turn your imagination off. Make a decision at the start of every day to be the glass half full person and before too long you are hard wired for success.”
Gordon Tredgold says, ”Surround yourself with positive people and see their optimism give you the strength to try new things"
It's the doctor's orders! “You can increase your optimism level if you surround yourself with positive people,” said Cardiologist Dr Uzma IqBal.
Our Advisory Board Member, John Hagel, puts it very well. John said to me, "There are two types of people in the world - energy drainers and energy amplifiers. Optimistic people are energy amplifiers, especially if their optimism comes from the passion of the explorer. The more optimistic people connect with each other, the more energy they can generate together - it will go exponential."
Lee Tonitto, CEO of the Australian Council of Professions, told us "I believe optimism is in my nature. I surround myself with positive people. I try everyday to value the small things. I support other people. I laugh everyday."
Harvard Business School's Professor Bill George, told me “I am optimistic because I believe in the inherent goodness of people and I am surrounded with positive optimistic people. What a blessing!”
What to do Next?
Exercise: List the most optimistic people you Know. If they are in the same area you live in and work in, organise a coffee with them - ideally 3 or 4 around the table to get the conversation going. (In Lockdown, maybe a video conference coffee)
Exercise: Write down one paragraph or sentence on why it's important to surround yourself with optimistic people. Share it with a friend or colleague. Share it on the Centre for Optimism's Blogs and Fora. Send it to Victor Perton to add to the learnings for The Centre for Optimism.
Exercise: Have a look at your fellow members in the Centre for Optimism Members' Directory. Anyone you already know? Time for a coffee with them?
“True North” Professor Bill George, Harvard Business School
“I am optimistic because I believe in the inherent goodness of people and I am surrounded with positive optimistic people. What a blessing!”
Laura Kuhar, CSIRO
"I was always told to think positively and to stick around positive people, so optimism is mostly a state of mind for me. Sometimes though, optimism is a choice - it is not always easy to find an element of good in the worst situations, but it is possible, even if I have to look really hard!"
Sharyn County, Head Of Procurement at Jemena
"What makes me optimistic is people: Meeting, working with and leading passionate, motivated people. Seeing those I lead and have led be successful and creating a safe environment that takes into account the differences in people to enable this."
Sam Knight, IACCM Global Council Member
“Being positive and optimistic inspires others. It creates ideas and drives collaboration and thought-sharing. I aim to be an optimist and surround myself with optimists. We are the people who can face a challenge head-on and come up with multiple options to make the best of any situation."
Louise Scott Heatley, IACCM
"Striving to see the positive, surrounding myself with like-minded people and being grateful for all that I have makes my life so much happier and more optimistic than ever!"
“I like being optimistic and being surrounded by optimism. Optimism creates positive energy and inspires me to find solutions and opportunities. As a leader, I find myself using positive energy created by my optimism to inspire, lead the way and make work fun empowering the team to find solutions and opportunities."
Giang Cao Ho My, Founder of Mind Flower
Choose Friends who Stay Cool: It sounds anodyne. But surrounding yourself with friends of positive energy can help you train yours. Positivity helps you remain more balanced when faced with difficult situations. Imagine, meeting a friend around a coffee who does not stop complaining about everything? I believe you’d prefer sitting with someone who is full of joy and optimism. Believe me, as social beings, we are influenceable. Joy and positivity are contagious. Why not practicing to be yourself a source of positive energy for your friends?
"The conviction that most people are fundamentally decent helps us to be more optimistic about the future and to work with others for the survival of humans, animals and plants in a cleaner environment. Belonging to groups is important. I belong to two local groups. We are comfortable sharing our feelings and fears. This helps us to feel less alone, and to feel more optimistic about the future. In our families as in groups, listening is more important than speaking."
Lee Tonitto, CEO of the Australian Council of Professions
"I believe optimism is in my nature. I surround myself with positive people. I try everyday to value the small things. I support other people. I laugh everyday."
Dr Wendy Patrick
"We are drawn to people who make us feel happy, hopeful, and optimistic, and when they are gone, we want to see them again."
Mary Berry, Communities of Respect
“What makes me optimistic? Being surrounded by amazing people who work selflessly to help others and pave futures of opportunity, inclusion, resilience and strength within our communities."
Gönül Serbest, Chief Executive Officer, Global Victoria
"Optimism is magnetic - anything is possible when you attract positive energy and people through the right mindset."
”Surround yourself with positive people and see their optimism give you the strength to try new things"
Gary Gopinathan, Executive Director, The John Maxwell Team
"As an entrepreneur and leader, I find optimism through surrounding myself with positivity and positive people.”
Anil Dash, CEO of Glitch
“If you can trust in a community, and you can trust in your ability to express yourself, and you can trust in having a safe place to share your ideas, that gives you space to be optimistic,. It gives you space to have some hope to think you have something to share when the ground is shifting under you and you can’t take people at their word.”
Bedros Keuilian, Fit Body Boot camp
“Only share your big dreams, ambitions, and goals with the people in your life who are positive, optimistic, and have similar ambitions. Those are the people who will encourage, motivate, and inspire you to become the best version of yourself.”
"There are two types of people in the world - energy drainers and energy amplifiers. Optimistic people are energy amplifiers, especially if their optimism comes from the passion of the explorer. The more optimistic people connect with each other, the more energy they can generate together - it will go exponential."
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
”it’s so important to surround yourself with people who are grounded and really optimistic.”
You are only as good as the company you keep. If you’re around gloomy people, there’s a good chance you won’t be smiling. Make it your mission to dodge negativity. Surround yourself with supportive friends who have positive outlooks. As they say, if you want to soar with the eagles, you have to stop hanging out with the ducks.
Optimism is a learned habit, and it is positively contagious. Surround yourself with people who could infect you with positivity. In turn pass your new good mood on to a friend or stranger in words and deed – let somebody have that parking space, let that person with only a few items cut in front of you at the market. The simple act of doing something nice for others is actually a good pick-me-up all by itself.
Opt for healthy connection. Disaster can strike. Humans can behave badly. But when we persistently focus on the worst, we pickle ourselves in damaging stress hormones which undermine our health and cloud our judgment. Extreme pessimism makes us want to disconnect from the human race itself — which is not good for us or for the human race. As the pandemic reminds us, human life is ultimately about connection. When we find ourselves spinning off into Gloomtown, connection puts us back on track. Wander in nature or the neighborhood. Visit with a friend virtually or physically. Help a cause or organization you believe in. If you are feeling solitary, connect with your emotions in vigorous movement or pour them out on a page.
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