What makes you Optimistic? Results from the Strategy and Optimism Survey
The most fundamental research by the Centre for Optimism comes from asking people like you one-by-one, "What makes you optimistic?"
We have asked that question of over 6000 people from Presidents and Prime Ministers to people living in Indian villages. We publish those answers on this website, through our books, through social media, public events including webinars and in workshops. Those answers are published across this website but a good place to start is "Optimists on their Optimism."
The answers below come from our online Good Strategy and Optimism Online Survey - 375 people in 36 countries. The demographic is generally people working in roles which involve them in strategy creation.
"A long healthy life with much to look forward to."
"Achievement of my Life's Purpose, which is aligned with my Board roles, my consulting and my family."
-"When I see lives matter more than profit/money - Transparent communication - Forget titles and remember we are all humans"
"an inherent belief in humanity and trust in life."
"an innate belief in the capacity of people to do good things."
"Because the reverse is soul-destroying, unproductive, and leads to poor outcomes."
"Being grateful. Looking forward. Having trust in self and loved ones".
"Belief that we live in good times and better times are to come."
"Believing that things will be positive when we get through this period of turmoil. Prepared team ready to move forward."
"Confidence from our leaders and wider community."
"Doing what it is possible for me to do to improve whatever situation exists."
"Optimism is about believing that you can achieve your goal. Without optimism, the gaols will feel like lead weights and progress will be like pulling a tonne weight up a steep hill."
"A belief in progress over the long run. Short-term pain will drive learnings that lead to longer-term gains."
"Always looking for the good in myself, others and outcomes. Having an understanding that challenges once addressed can provide growth and outcomes that were better than previously anticipated."
"At core we all wish to leave a legacy, a better world for our children. Simple initiatives - protect nature, reach out to people, save water and energy are quite effective."
"My experience is that things will work out. Adversity brings challenge and opportunity."
"Always thinking about/planning for/creating a brighter future."
"Being optimistic is more productive than worrying."
"Belief in the God"
"Christian faith and a positive outlook on life."
"Clear understanding of my ability to be resilient and focus on the potential of any situation even when it looks most bleak. Optimism stems from confidence in self in my instance."
"Currently due to CV19 there is a lot of FUD in the market. Fear, uncertainty, doubt in turn create tremendous anxiety and mental health issues. However we need to understand that this will eventually pass, and the world will move on. We are a very blessed and wonderful country and need to keep focussed on a positive future that will come. Resilience is a daily effort we need to practice, it will get better!"
"Optimism creates positive energy, and that reflects back at you with everything you do."
"A sense that we have some control over our destiny and that hard work and smart choices will deliver value to the community."
"Because I ultimately believe that most people are good and they want to connect and help each other. That has been my life experience. Sure, I’ve dealt with difficult situations and people but they are a small percentage overall."
"I have always been optimistic and life has delivered."
"Achieving and helping others."
"Because the World recovered from the Spanish Flu and the Great Depression eventually, and we can see already the Covid-19 curve starting to flatten in Australia."
"Australians have the practical skills to breakdown the virus and discover a vaccine for the world and that our leadership will not falter in keeping the nation optimistic."
"Belief in the benefits arising from focusing on positive opportunities."
"A better world"
"Capacity to overcome adversity"
"Conviction of being on the right side of history."
"Enjoyment of family, friends and nature"
"Experience. "Psychophysiology /Biofeedback / Neurofeedback – If it weren't Science, it would be a Miracle!" It shows that Meditation changes your physiology, and improvement is measurable!
"Faith in people.
"Firm belief in creating opportunities, and track record shows that the majority of the time things work out. Taking calculated risks together with smart people, in an environment of trust = high performance.
"For me personally, I have always had an optimistic disposition, in some cases, things have not gone as planned in the short term, and depression set in. By being optimistic, I found that more positive things started to happen, and that builds over time, and it's like a roller coaster at times. Still, I know that it will end up pulling up at the right place where it flattens out, and you can take a breath, gather your thoughts and look back on that wild ride, and being satisfied with where you have arrived.
"For me, it's the only way to be.
"For me, there is no other option.
"Getting up every Morning; Going for a Walk; Looking at the way we can improve our Lives; and, Supporting Family and Friends.
"God and family.
"Good people & staying resilient through adversity.
"Have always been optimistic, I never "make a bad decision" I only make the next decision from where I am, not where I should be, could have been or was.
"Having the tools available that allow me to be flexible in the actions I take
"High internal locus of control
"History. We've always muddled through - imperfectly - in the past.
"Honest people are doing the right thing. It's not about looking good; it's about honesty, integrity, hard work, quality etc.
"Hope, trust, belief, faith and prayer
"Hope and belief in it
"Human beings have an enormous capacity for resourcefulness and resilience. If we can manage to work together constructively, our potential is vast.
"I believe that my potential for optimal outcomes is limited by the Optimism of my objectives. To put this another way: "no matter how good or how bad your situation is, it is better if you are looking for opportunities rather than looking for excuses".
"I always look for silver linings - it's part of my personality.
"I am an eternal optimist and at every turn or challenge, look to Optimism when determining possibilities, plans and outcomes.
"I am driven to succeed. I cannot function in a world that is like "Ground Hog Day". I need challenges. I enjoy the praise my team receives when we reach/exceed our goals. This will not be possible with negativity.
"I am innately optimistic; I know that all things shall pass and that whatever happens, I can recover from any situation - I can see positive role models doing just that all around me.
"I am naturally optimistic, always have been sometimes to the vexation of the non-optimistic. I also enjoy and rise to challenges and excitement of life!
"I am optimistic because I know that communications technology can be used to breakdown the tyranny of distance which means that group knowledge (multi-heads is better than one) is available in real-time to solve most if not all problems. In essence, we are not alone, even having social, physical distancing.
"I am optimistic because of all of the humanity of all the true leaders I interact with. Without asking, they are focusing their resources and actions towards helping their fellow humans to tackle our immediate challenges, and also the longer-term challenges that face us.
"I am optimistic per nature. I believe that good actions tend to bring good things as their consequence.
"I am trying to look at the good things that are coming out of this situation. One of those things is a realisation that maybe we don't need to do so much travel, take so many flights, do so many in-person meetings.
"I think people are generally being more understanding and are exercising more kindness to one another as well.
"I believe in harmony rather than balance. They say that balance should have positives and negatives, but in my perspective, being optimistic is something that you believe that harmony also works amidst diversity. It gives me an extra flavour of excitement and colours of perspectives.
"I believe in Jesus Christ, the greatest possibility-thinker who ever lived. I believe he has a plan for our good, and it is always progressing. The enemy of mankind has been conquered, and as believers in Jesus Christ, we must choose to engage in the implications of that reality.
"I believe in the innate power of humanity as a whole to deliver a better world.
"I believe Optimism is ingrained in my 'self' despite having experienced high anxiety as a younger person ... I always knew I could and would overcome that, and there have been many other life challenges that I have met similarly.
"I believe sound strategic planning will facilitate optimistic outcomes. I also feel very fortunate to live the life I have on a farm, and I feel confident I will survive the COVID 19 crisis, and I look forward to the opportunities that will arise on the other side.
"I don't accept that good things will happen; I objectively define my future.
"I don't expect that, but I know I will do everything in my power to support that, using energy, courage, resilience.
"I have a lot to be grateful for in terms of my personal life experience - I am optimistic because I want to share that positive in my life and grow more to share further going forward.
"I have a sound belief that notwithstanding all the external problems that I can't control, I can control how I respond, and I need to prepare for maximising my position for when external factors improve.
"I have always been optimistic. I am curious about everything and - to paraphrase da Vinci - I refuse to be constrained by my present reality in terms of thinking about what could be
"I have always looked at the silver lining in every situation. By responding rather than reacting, it gives me time to consider the best outcome for everyone.
"I have an unwavering belief in the goodness that resides in us all..... I think times like these are when you see people shine their brightest. It's only a small number of people out there who choose the alternative path, so I try not to focus on them too much.
"I have to move forward, without Optimism, I would get depressed or steady-state - I get bored without challenge and perform woefully, so need Optimism to take on new challenges continuously.
"I hold a core belief in the ingenuity of human beings.
"I look ahead and think in 1 week, two weeks etc. this will be resolved. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and there's nothing that can't be overcome.
"I look around me and see so many smart, capable and well-meaning people. Our ability to adapt and co-operate on a mass scale is impressive. Whilst it's not perfect, the trajectory of our society is in the right direction, I think. Fundamentally everyone wants the same thing, to feel secure and content with their place in the world.
"I make me Optimistic. It is my deepest nature to see good in everything and to trust that I am the creator of all my experiences. So why wouldn't I create experiences I prefer.
"I think I am naturally optimistic. I have a belief if you would work hard on the right things, good things will come eventually.
"I understand that hard work and consistency is paramount to achieve goals in both life and business. Hard work and consistency of effort are under my control.
"I usually can see solutions to difficult problems.
"I was born an optimist and always see the world using a "glass half full" approach. Over time my experience has taught me this makes you a more resilient leader and helps others to stay focussed on the bigger picture. I live and breathe using a Growth Mindset and that anyone can and should learn from their experiences.
"I was brought up to work hard and expect the best. I am lucky to have everything I do, family and friends, work and opportunities, in a lucky country - so I must be optimistic and use all these advantages. So many people are displaced around the world - I am lucky and make my own luck.
"I was once told I wore rose coloured glasses, so I took them off - the world changed instantly with an uncomfortable feel - I promptly put them back on, and this time I changed them for sunglasses. What makes me optimistic? Keeping my sunglasses on, I make sure the world looks a lot brighter.
"I was raised during WW2, and after The war ended and my father who I never knew came home I had reason to rejoice, my mother had reason to celebrate, rations were eased, the country started like a slow Diesel engine grinding out a new way forward. Houses were built, jobs were created, railways were expanded, and the country moved together with a common purpose. It has always seemed to me that if we could do that, then it is unlikely that we won't be able to do so again if needed. I have been taught to strive hard but not at the expense of others, in business to always leave something for the other person and in life, to be honest, to give of one's self and let the rest take care of its self in the belief that good positivity will always triumph over those who have a negative view of the amazing world in which we are fortunate enough to live.
"I'm not ready to retire from life yet, and I see the opportunity to shine a light on achievable improvements.
"I'm optimistic about the ABILITY to find good things, not merely that they will happen. It takes hard work to make Optimism happen.
"I'm genuinely optimistic that this challenge will lead to us shedding some old ways of doing things that should have been stopped years ago, I am truly optimistic that with this proof that we can act quickly and implement evidence-based approaches that the nihilism that things can't change quickly is firmly knocked on the head...we can, we have, let's work together to address other deep-rooted challenges facing humanity.
"I've always been optimistic, there is always a way forward, a better choice to make. I work in community services, and there are always inspiring people making a difference for others in small ways and making systemic improvements.
"I'm an optimist in every cell of my body. I know that whenever I put all my heart, and all my efforts in what I do and the people I work with do the same, and we add Optimism to that the result will always be outstanding.
"If I have to think, what do I want my life to be, pleasant or unpleasant? I choose pleasant. So when I think about how I should think, positive or negative, the obvious answer is positive—That's what keeps me optimistic.
"If you put in the effort and use your intelligence, things will work out.
In my experience optimism is infectious and very capable of altering the outcome in any situation. Portraying and conveying Optimism creates a good result.
"In terms of the pandemic, the opportunity for businesses to use this time when they are forced to reduce their cost base to really consider what their core is and rebuild most effectively makes me hugely optimistic.
"It has been my personal experience as well as the way my parents have brought me up, having a positive attitude and doing all the right things( as far as possible),?will lead you in the right direction. It may not be very obvious to others, but subconsciously you know what wishes and what you have done- That will ultimately win. Your positive thinking, attitude and the good cause. Ultimately "Your aim is to work only- Never to the fruit thereof" (Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa.)
"It is a philosophy of life where we put into perspective the challenges we confront with historical challenges and/or in contrast with people who have less control on their environment than the one we experience in our day to day life.
"It is embedded in my psyche.
"It is far more uplifting than the alternatives.
"It is in our nature of we look for it and cultivate it.
"It is one of my top strengths. It is part of who I am now. I have practised it, and it has become habitual.
"It is simply a better way to live. Not sure there really is a middle ground, one is either optimistic or pessimistic and if pessimistic it quickly raises the concern of what's the point?! Any answer that is other than 'there is no point' is an inherently optimistic answer.
"It is what it is. It is up to us to adapt and make the best of changing circumstances. Nothing has changed since the ice age in this regard.
"It's essential, especially in a drawn-out crisis.
"It's my way of being... some of us are born optimists, I'm one of them.
"It's our contribution to the world that we can choose to make or choose to deny the world. Why wouldn't you want to define your life by improving it? Why would you dream the world little, or in a negative way when you could imagine it and then take steps to enable it to be greater, grander and more inspiring to others. It's a life choice. I choose to dream the world big and then put my labours in to enable this dream to be fulfilled by myself and those around me. To do the reverse is to cheat everyone out of something wonderful.
"Knowing that everything is an opportunity to grow.
"Knowing that I can have a positive, lasting effect on my clients and partners.
"Knowing that I have something unique, that only I can offer the world--and knowing the world needs what I am offering.
"Knowing that it is my choice to be optimistic. My nature always leaned towards Optimism, but for some time, outside circumstances made me like being small was just how life would be for me. A previous employer provided some personal development training which totally opened my eyes to awareness and choice. It's not always easy to choose Optimism, but now I can't ignore that it is my choice and also my responsibility if I don't.
"Knowing that Optimism is infectious, motivation becomes even easier, and results outcomes are much better.
"Knowing that we will emerge stronger than ever with an increased appreciation and understanding for one another.
"Knowing that we will get through this pandemic - we just don't know when
"Knowing the innate disposition of every individual is inclined to do good, inevitably!
"Knowing the world is full of passionate, talented and caring people trying to make a positive impact.
"Knowledge that humans working together can solve virtually any problem, and that they can build real, executable solutions -- with or without memory of previous efforts on similar problems; we are all loved, and valued.
"Lead & guide prayerful life in office & family. Work for the betterment and positive changes.
"Life - we all have an uncertain future even though we like to think that our future is certain. I have a friend with cancer who was told she has months to live yet her brother in law in Spain died last night. We characterise life as good or bad, yet it just is. We can decide/ choose what it means to us. I choose an exceptional life. And because of that, I have an exceptional life. To me, this is Optimism.
"Life and people
"Life Experience -it's all happening as it is supposed to - stay calm, be kind and think rationally.
"Life is filled with ups and downs - after the valley, there is always a mountain. I have experienced this throughout my life, and I know things will be different after the pandemic. I choose to believe they'll be better different... We will come out of this stronger than before, with new skills, a new way of working and a new way of thinking.
"Life is full of ups and downs and uncertainty since the beginning of time. Relying on leaders, their experience, and their mantras makes me believe in Optimism. Today I posted on LinkedIn, Churchill's quote, "Optimists see the opportunity in every danger, pessimists see the danger in every opportunity." In these challenging times, we have a target-rich environment for opportunity.
"Life is still good in Australia... Even now. I suspect that many in the media and people here have not seen real adversity and its lessons on how to appreciate the mundane rather than seek the extraordinary allow for more joy in our life.
"Life! Being able to live and enjoy the moments and inspire those around me.
"Looked at our society, the disruption to supply chains and the need for social distancing may encourage us at the personal and societal level to look at how we might do things differently. For example, the closure of casinos and clubs with pokies may encourage addicted gamblers to realise that there are other ways of enjoying spending time. Families are both at risk in some circumstances, but many may find more positive ways of interacting with each other as we are thrown more on to on our resources. At a societal level, we may realise the need to plan better for catastrophic events and not just those that occur in a very short timeframe. We may realise the need for social investment as a risk mitigation strategy. Some of these benefits may only be temporary until the immediate crisis passes. Still, for some, the need to reexamine previously accepted truths will lead to longer-term benefits, social and personal.
"Looking back at things that went well and forward to a plan that will lever social and economic value.
"Military training and motivation.
"Moving forward with goals that have been set up prior.
"My two children need a future, and we need to make positive decisions for the world to move forward.
"My belief in things happen for a reason and staying optimistic will allow a clear mind to handle all situations.
"My dog! He demonstrates simple pleasures every day, in so many different ways.
"My faith in God
"My life experience, I've been lucky, and each negative experience has led to a better outcome.
"My mindset, the people I choose to engage with, particularly my family, and the environment in which I work and live.
"My Optimism comes from faith in people. Most are honest and have integrity. There are exceptions, and they need to be managed but not allowed to distract. I also have confidence in our ability to respond and overcome crisis.
"My two daughters who have lost their jobs, my husband, who is alone while I work and have to remain interstate and music.
"Now that you've defined it, I think I'm pretty optimistic by nature, even though I've seen and experienced terrible things. My father, who lived through a war as a child old enough to recall detail, always reassured me things would be alright in the end. This doesn't mean no pain or suffering, but it means we can endure it, don't let it beat us. I feel it's a base instinct, the force of life. Optimism can be buried under stress and sadness, but it pops up like a cork pushed underwater, and if you allow it, perhaps through practice and focus, it can remain there most of the time, guiding your decisions and highlighting your purpose.
"Optimism is a way of achieving stated goals. We must look forward in life, we can achieve, "if at first, you don't achieve, try again".
"Optimism is hope and the desire to attain a positive, hopeful future
optimism is responsible for the progress made by humans despite all tragedies, natural disasters and pandemic along the way.. it is essential to learn from failures, adapt, improvise and continue marching on to achieve a new goal, with a new strategy
"Optimism is the expectation that positive intent leads to a positive outcome
"Our forebears lived through much worse. We have the means to manage our destiny.
"pandemic is just that - a circumstance that will cease at some point in time and an extraordinary occurrence.
"Part of my makeup.
"peoples' smiles and when they say "Hi" in the street, small nice news, happy animals, a sweet tune
"People, diversity and our aspiration to be better, to do good and while developing innovative solutions that assist best value outcomes.
"People. I believe humans can adapt.
"Personal experience, study of history, personal belief that within reason, attitude can frame outcomes, and particularly that pessimism can be self-fulfilling
"Prior experience of these times from my age
"Relationships and positivity in others
"Right now, I am optimistic about how Australia is responding to COVID-19 .. I believe we will get through it and we will learn a great deal from it. Our lives will not return to "normal".. life will be different but in many good ways through our learnings about how we can work, how we can live without many of the material things that have become important, that our relationships will be built on being grateful for who we can spend time with and that we should be kinder and more tolerant than ever before. I am excited about these changes ... my cup is half full right now.
"Right now, the belief that current conditions will lead us to a better, more balanced, more empathetic world, where emotional wealth and social value can perhaps take a major step forward.
"Science has addressed bigger problems, and this pandemic will soon be resolved with the help from Science
"Seeing and learning about all of the good efforts and new ways of being together, working together and caring for one another in a local as well as global context and thereby paving the way for a new world, where all of these elements are integral parts.
"Seeing the way the current situation is bringing out creativity, innovation and collaboration in a common cause.
"A sense of purpose and being part of something in the national interest
"So very grateful for what I already have.
"Still breathing, so still opportunity.
"Successful planning, good colleagues, equitable outcomes
"Sunshine, kind words, generosity, a beautiful garden, music, a smile, enthusiasm and energy, delight in simple moments by myself and others.
"Surrounding myself with like-minded others who are keen to make a difference to the future.
"Surrounding myself with people who are more optimistic in their outlook. Keeping life in balance
"Taking the long historical views - both societal and personal - all periods of crisis and challenges have been worked through and followed by periods of growth, gain, and good outcomes.
"Taking the view that this global reset is a forced intervention to make us look at new ways of working, living and loving.
"That I am still alive given the ever-declining world
"That it will be over for sure
"That things will be ok on the other side.
"The belief that I can influence things that happen to me, my colleagues and my loved ones
"The belief that no matter what challenge is presented to us, there is always hope for a better and brighter future, and much enjoyment to come
"The course of human history is of discernment and innovation and tolerance and flourishing ... so any setback is just a step back before two steps forward.
"The desire to ensure my family is happy and healthy
"The fact that I know God has good plans for me. That whatever I am walking through is part of the process and making me stronger.
"The fact that others are. And, the creativity and learning that 'difficult times' release.
"The fact that the sun rises each day and presents us with a new day and new opportunity.
"The human spirit. The ability to come together in times of crisis. The bonding that will provide ongoing benefits long term. Bring our supply chain into better alignment, improve the relationship with suppliers, customers and our workers
"The knowledge that one person can make a difference and that if that one person collaborates with others, we can make a very significant difference to the world around us
"The love of family and friends, good deeds, the beauty of the natural world, waking up each day
"The management of the health and economic crisis by the Australian government thus far is encouraging.
"The past is the best predictor of the future
"The prophecies on this are really good in the end. This year will be tough, but clean out a lot of crap that we as humans don't need. People will awake to a higher level of consciousness in their life. When I say prophecies, I refer to the Celestine Prophecy, published in the '90s but I believe it is talking about the current times. And the messages being received by individuals from the universe.
"The sun shining and friendly people who are looking to help.
"The team that we have is strong, Resilient and flexible. Together we will prosper and care for each other
"The thought of a beautiful moment of diligence and inner stillness
"The way the government is handling the pandemic.
"The world can mend its ways. Change/reduce its destructive behaviours. People will see/witness change as being good for themselves and the planet. Rather than just imaging how change might look.
"The world is a healthier, safer and richer place than it was 100 years ago.
"There will be an end to the crisis, and there will be lots of changes, many of them good.
"Things could be worse.
"Things only improve for any organisation or person if they set out to do the things that are necessary to make those improvements achievable. This requires Optimism, not just realism, that these can be achieved
thinking about the future, and working on transforming from old to new.
thinking clearly of the data and its potential impact
"This is a tough one. Constant self-learning and self-improvement help me remember that there is potential for things to change for the better.
"Through a range of activities, one of which is Meditation, I have come to realise that as long as I keep learning, I am optimistic. Learning, while it can be demanding, is such great fun, expanding my knowledge, skills and hopefully wisdom.
"To achieve anything, you have to see the glass as half full. If you see it as half empty, you will never try anything.
"Trust in better outcomes.
"Understanding that change and crisis provide opportunities to be constructive in the long term
"Waves at the beach: a reminder than things come and go, the good and the bad, now is only transient.
"We have a great business culture and opportunities abound in an ever-changing industry, so there is a lot to feel good about
"We remind ourselves that we get many attempts at success. One failure does not mean our vision or goals are wrong or should be abandoned. We can always keep trying.
"We will get over this as we get over any disaster in our lives. Plan for the best, be ready for the worst.
"What makes me optimistic is the ability of human beings to 'find a way' to overcome obstacles to live better lives. Exploration excites and connects us, it always has.
"What makes me optimistic is the strong sense of "we're in this together", that people won't let others fall through the gaps, there are people giving a voice to those without one, and a helping hand to those unable to help themselves.
"What makes me optimistic? I am optimistic because I know that communications technology can be used to breakdown the tyranny of distance which means that group knowledge (multi-heads is better than one) is available in real-time to solve most if not all problems. In essence, we are not alone, even having social, physical distancing."
"What Makes YOU Optimistic? (Optimism is an expectation that good things will happen and that things will work out in the end.)
Without Optimism, there is no hope. Without hope, there is no faith. Otherwise, I'm dead if I don't have Optimism. Doom and gloom
Working towards a positive is motivating; it inspires moving forward, it creates smiles; it lifts the heart.
"Yes, yes, yes, and. Well, yes......
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