Zesty Optimism

Zesty Optimism
by Victor Perton

I read an article by Adeshola Ore, a Victorian state reporter for Guardian Australia, entitled "Sally Capp looks back on six years as Melbourne lord mayor."

Ore wrote, "Zesty optimism has been a signature trait during her tenure as Melbourne's lord mayor, but it hasn't always won her plaudits."

This sentence caught my attention as "Zesty Optimism" was not on my list of optimism superpowers.

What is Zesty Optimism?

Zesty, particularly when applied to a person, refers to an individual who possesses an infectious and invigorating positive energy. This type of energy is akin to the sharp, stimulating, and lively tang of citrus fruits. A zesty person is not just optimistic; they radiate their positive outlook in an uplifting and motivational manner to those around them. This trait is characterised by a lively and spirited approach to life, often inspiring others to embrace positivity and enthusiasm.

Zesty optimism is not merely about seeing the glass as half full; it's about enthusiastically jumping in to fill it up the rest of the way. It's an attractive, proactive, vibrant approach to life, and its challenges manifest in a sparkling demeanour and an undying belief in positive outcomes. This zestful energy is an embodiment of hope and cheerfulness that persists even amidst adversity, projecting a confidence that is both motivating and magnetic.

Examples of Zesty Optimism

Zesty Optimism is not a commonly used term – however, upon further exploration, I did find previous usages that encapsulate its essence:

In "The Guardian," Robyn Wilder, writing about the psychotherapist Philippa Perry, remarked, "She could easily be aloof or intimidating. Instead, she crackles with a zesty optimism from behind her neon-rimmed glasses." 

This depiction suggests a person whose positive demeanour is inherent and visibly exudes through their appearance and presence.

A recipe for Mustard Tomato Broth (Or Anti-Anxiety Broth) from the blog Hungry and Frozen includes lemongrass or a strip of citrus peel "to lend the broth an air of zesty optimism," signifying how flavours can evoke a sense of brightness and positive anticipation, much like how one's attitude can influence their outlook on life. The recipe can be explored here.

Writer Justin Chin reflected on a shift in disposition with nostalgia: "Good lord, what happened to us? We used to be so full of zesty optimism, piping over with something like hope.

In a LinkedIn article kicking off Global Entrepreneurship Week, Katia M advises, "Network with enthusiast people. Entrepreneurs (and the people surrounding them) have a contagious, zesty optimism. It is refreshing to listen to them, see how can you help them (or vice versa), and get inspired: it can really change someone's mindset." Her observation, which can be read here, highlights entrepreneurs' dynamic and uplifting spirit, emphasising how their zest can be transformative.

As illustrated through these examples, Zesty optimism can be seen in individuals, felt in the ambience they create, and tasted in food that comforts and uplifts the spirit. It's a multi-sensory experience that infuses life with a delightful vibrancy.

How to Become More of a Zesty Optimist

Becoming a zesty optimist involves cultivating habits that enhance one's outlook on life. These habits influence personal well-being and positively impact those around us. 

Smile and Greet Everyone Enthusiastically

Taking a leaf from Sally Capp's approach, begin by smiling and saying hello to everyone you meet. This simple act can brighten someone else's day and significantly boost your mood. Smiles are contagious and set a positive tone for any interaction. 

Read More: Smile Like an Optimist

Change Your Greeting to Spark Joy

Transform ordinary greetings into moments of joy:

Instead of asking, "How are you?" ask, "What's been the best thing in your day so far?" This question encourages others to focus on the positive aspects of their day, turning routine interactions into opportunities for happiness.

Ask "What brings you joy today?" to invite reflections on personal delights and passions, deepening connections with others.

Laugh More

Incorporate more laughter into your life. Laughter alleviates stress, promotes heart health, and enhances resilience. Attend a comedy show, watch funny videos, or share amusing stories with friends. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress and a cornerstone of an optimistic lifestyle.

Read More: Laugh Like an Optimist

Foster Optimism in Meetings

Inject optimism into formal settings to shift the typical dynamics towards positive engagement:

At the start of the team or board meeting, include a roundtable prompt such as "What made you optimistic today?" on the agenda. This helps participants connect personally, fostering a team spirit aligned with optimistic values.


Zesty optimism is a powerful approach to life that can significantly impact personal and professional domains. By understanding and integrating this vibrant form of optimism, we can harness its full potential to lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Embrace this lively spirit, and let it propel you toward greater positivity and success.

What's Your Optimism Superpower?


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