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What is Optimism?

At its simplest, optimism is an expectation that good things will happen and that things will work out in the end.

Professor Jee Hyun Kim, The Florey Institute

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

Murli Thadani, Kiroyan Partners, Jakarta, Indonesia

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

Robert Mallick

"I am optimistic because optimism and hope is my state of mind not a state of the world."

The Optimist Heart

Sarah Watson FIEAust 

"Optimism is choosing excitement over fear"

Marija Dremaite, Vilnius University

Optimism is a state of mind.  It is an outlook - an expression of faith and hope that the outcome of one’s efforts will be both positive and desirable."

Architecture of Optimism

Sally McArthur, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Swinburne University of Technology

"Optimism is identifying a challenge and building a community to explore it with you, knowing that a diversity of ideas, know how and people will always create energy, insights and a whole range of solutions you could never envisage by yourself."

Anna-Marie Southern, World Commerce and Contracting

"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.”

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"

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.”

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"

Jose Raynal, Strategy Director, EPIC

"Optimism is a strong belief that the future will be better, because we are building it from our dreams."

Maureen Maher, Neighbourhood Connect

"Optimism is a spark that ignites possibility, creativity and joy . It inspires us to keep moving forward and be the best we can be"

Dr Tim Baker

“Optimism is a state of mind rather than a technique. I’m so grateful I woke up this morning. That’s something to be optimistic about. Many people didn’t wake up this morning.” 

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg, Transformation Coach and Relentless Optimist

“Optimism is a lifestyle and a daily choice. Choose wisely.”

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.”

Scott W. Atlas, MD

“Optimism is not simply a belief, its power is founded in knowledge and evidence.”

The case for optimism: USA and Coronavirus

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."

Syed Saeed Alam

"Optimism is the powerful elixir of engagement."

Joanne Butterworth-Gray GAICD, Chairperson, Southern Rural Water

"Optimism if the exquisite taste of the first white peach of the season; it is the trust with which your grandson takes your hand; the acceptance of your destiny and your place in a world that is much bigger than you; and mostly, optimism is living and being the person you are meant to be."

Ridwan Kamil,  Governor of West Java

"Optimism is the reason to live, the reason to get up in the morning. Optimism is looking forward to a bright future, a better future for all."

Brad Coughlin, Founding Director at cBeyond Solutions

“Optimism is the connective tissue between your last No and your next Yes.

Martin Chesbrough

"Optimism is the hope that the future will be better than the past.  Our job is to harness optimism in order to ensure a positive future for ourselves, our families and our communities"

Tristan Russell, Adviser, City of Port Phillip

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

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.”

Deepa TojanDeloitte India

"Optimism is the beginning of the beginnings"

Lynette Mayne AM, co-chair, b team australasia

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?”

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."

Janine Garner, Speaker and Author

"Optimism is an inner belief that the external challenges too will end. It is seeing the light of possibility and the spark of opportunity.  Optimism is seeing the best in humanity versus the worse and knowing that togetherness, is ultimately all we have to drive the change that is needed."

Professor Tony Cassidy, Professor of Child & Family Health PsychologyUlster University

"Optimism is about travelling hopefully towards your next goal."

Sisters May Make You More Optimistic!

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.

Steve Gross

General Colin Powell

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier"

Deepika Chopra, PsyD

“The true definition of an optimist is someone that is very aware and mindful of all the setbacks and roadblocks and less-than-ideal things that happen in their life.  The caveat is that they are just aware that those things are temporary, and they have the ability to overcome them.”

Holger Dielenberg

“Optimism is the driver and pessimism are potholes and low fuel reserves. Steer your course wisely.”

Read "Covid-19 response. Rapid Shield a Space Tank CoLab Product"

Obi Kaufmann

"optimism is, by my working definition, the process of engaging the facts with eyes wide open.”

"Cynicism is an abdication of one’s social responsibilities. It’s a luxury and an indulgence, a privilege.  There’s no choice but to be optimistic. But that being said, there is this really important edge to walk on, which is that a lot of people, when they hear optimism, they think idealism. They’re thinking I’m not actually facing the facts—when in fact optimism is, by my working definition, the process of engaging the facts with eyes wide open.” 

Dr Deepika Chopra

"I think the word “optimism” can often be misunderstood. People generally amount optimism to positivity, it’s much more complex than that. Optimism is about resiliency, curiosity and hope. It is not about disregarding the truth and being devoid of reality. True optimism is someone very aware of the setbacks, roadblocks and less than ideal situations … the caveat is that they see these setbacks as temporary and something that they have the power to overcome, even if they don’t know exactly how or when. An optimist is someone who recognises and validates their negative feelings but at the very same time can hold hope for something better."

Sydney Finkelstein, Steven Roth Professor of Management, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

"If life is about creating meaning, then optimism is the fuel cell that drives that creativity."

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."

Kristin Wong

"At its core, optimism doesn’t require you to sweep those anxious, negative feelings under the rug. It’s not about smiling when you don’t feel like it. Optimism is simply being hopeful about the future, even when the present feels wholly negative. Cognitively, this is a challenge, because it requires you to acknowledge your positive and negative emotions at once and to allow them to exist simultaneously. As hard as it may be to make the case for optimism during a time of crisis, that’s when it happens to be the most useful."

Heather MacArthur

“Optimism is the act of dreaming up what you want and believing in that possibility. It taps into the part of our brain that sees opportunities and conjures up ideas for creating that which doesn’t exist yet. Fear only serves the immediate need to protect our physical safety. So if you’re not being chased by a mugger or a hungry tiger, always choose optimism.”

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!”

Peter Adamis, Writer


During the journey of life, we travel along many paths, some not of our choosing. Therefore we need a companion to guide us when entering uncharted and alien walks of life. That companion is based on faith in one's self which we call optimism.

Optimism dispels ignorance and fear, and as such, hope never leaves Pandora's Box, and the world remains a beautiful place.

Optimism is, therefore, a positive driver in the midst of chaos and panic. Never one to waver or influenced by negative elements of mind and matter. It remains constant and positive as it journeys through the numerous challenges of life.

Victoria Ngo 吳麗冰Head of Insights & Analytics at Vanguard Australia

"Optimism isn’t a frame of mind but a behaviour. It’s hope meets actiontakers . I am optimistic that no matter what, we have the power to show up that way for each other."

Julie Zaruba Fountaine, Wellness Coordinator at The College of St. Scholastica.

"An optimistic view of the world around me has given me a greater sense of wellbeing. Optimism does not mean ignoring the challenges in the world. Instead, it means finding ways to grow and learn from the challenges we face."

Dr Jane Addis, Mayor of the City of Boroondara and Psychologist

"For me, optimism is related to a positive mindset and this comes from several factors, including:

  • Gratitude – noticing and focusing on the good
  • Realistic goals and expectations – of self and others
  • Having a sense of purpose and doing things that allow me to use my talents
  • Trying to distinguish what really matters from day to day inconveniences
  • Distinguishing needs from wants
  • Remembering that I do not always get what I want.

Attila Burjan, Australian Productivity Council

"Optimism is a choice of will and hope, rather than a reaction to the world".

Hanelie Lategan, Manager Procurement and Supply Partners

"Optimism is to make the best of all opportunities. It is to act with great expectations regardless of your temporary thoughts and feelings". 

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