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Optimism and Happiness

"Is happiness the underpinning of optimism or is optimism an underpinning of happiness? It doesn’t matter - we know optimistic people tend to be happier and happier people tend to be more optimistic." Victor Perton

Alberto Prati and Claudia Senik in "Feeling Good Is Feeling Better"

"Happy people are more optimistic, perceive risks to be lower, and are more open to new experiences."

Carolyn King, Host of The Happiness Hour

"After helping people learn how to increase their happiness for over ten years, I’ve come to learn just how powerful optimism is in achieving that happiness. Happy people tend to be more optimistic, and optimistic people tend to be happier. So, one of the key ideas of increasing happiness in our lives is to increase or boost our optimism. And that’s a skill we can learn just by making different choices."


José de Jesús García

"Those of us who study happiness tend to be optimistic, by conviction and by congruence. The Science of Happiness recognizes optimism as one of the common elements of happy people. The reason is that those who see the future with optimism have more determination and confidence that things will improve and dreams and projects will crystallize."



Ali Pattillo

"Daily habits that cultivate positive thinking and optimism create sustainable happiness."


Betty W. Phillips, PhD.

“People with optimistic explanations of life generally feel happier and more energized to cope with obstacles, seeing them as challenges rather than failure experiences. Optimists are more likely to analyze whether setbacks are situational, then are able to develop plans to remove obstacles to their goals. Pessimists are more likely to view life problems as personal failures, blame themselves, feel unhappy and give up trying to change.”


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.”

Jeff Kerr-Bell

"Optimists are happier! Happiness is the result of the difference between expectations and reality. Realistic optimism helps drive a better reality and ambitious but realistic expectations. Be an Optimist! "

Kate Ashmor, Lawyer

“Optimism brings with it a level of happiness and belonging that negativity and pessimism never can. Looking on the bright side, looking ahead, brings people together, creates a cohesiveness that is infectious.”

Dr Billy Holland

 "Faith is having an optimistic attitude even when it seems the situation is hopeless. If our lives were filled with happiness with no problems at all, we would not sense the urgency to pray in faith. Those who read the Bible are well-aware of what is coming in the future and the time to build faith is now."

Read "Bible Verses for Optimism and Optimists"

Pankaj Savara, Commissioner - Middle East & Africa

"Optimism is fundamental to creativity, new ideas, growth and happiness”


Stephen Ibaraki, Futurist and Entrepreneur

 “In collecting more than 200 attributes that define success with entrepreneurs, there are four that stand out—one is optimism. When looking at the related area of happiness, prior to 2000, it was believed that people were born with a happiness set point—immutable thus setting your course for the future. However, when studying Tibetan monks and their brain activity, it was discovered that this could be raised through technique. The same is true of Optimism; you can increase your optimism by reframing everything into opportunities or key lessons for growth. This is similar to stress hormones, they are produced in relation to how you frame workload and challenges—think optimistically about opportunities and skill growth—the stress levels go down thus improving your life quality. Finally, there is this definition of success related to Grit most recently defined by psychologist Angela Duckworth which I’m modifying based upon my experiences:

 Talent x  hyper effort = skill

 Skill x hyper effort = achievement

 Achievement x passion x perseverance x optimism (squared) = Grit applied over long-term goals = Success”


Chester Elton

“My faith, family and friends keep Me optimistic. Faith because I believe that there is a plan for all of us that leads to happiness and fulfillment. It also allows me to serve my fellow man and that brings me great joy. Family is what keeps me centred. My wife Heidi of 37 years helps me keep my life in balance. My children and grandchildren that always amaze me with their curiosity and goodness. And friends that love and encourage me every day. They help me and allow me to help them.  Because of my faith, family and friends I have much to be grateful for in my life. It keeps me optimistic! It brings me great happiness and joy.”



Victor Perton in "Optimism: The How and Why"

"Is happiness the underpinning of optimism, or is optimism an underpinning of happiness? It doesn't matter - we know happier people tend to be more optimistic. And we know optimistic people tend to be happier.

"Never underestimate the power of a smile. We know that smiling stimulates brain patterns that reinforce feelings of happiness and optimism. Moreover, smiling does so in a way that even chocolate can not match.

"Australian happiness researcher Dr Marmolejo-Ramos found, "In our research, we found that when you forcefully practise smiling, it stimulates the amygdala – the emotional centre of the brain – which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state."


Shyam Ramanathan

"The key to happiness lies in optimism. It’s not what happens to us but how we respond to what happens to us that matters. For example, Steve Jobs believed in his products even when he was the only one with the vision. He was not even sure if it will be accepted in the market but he showed undying optimism to see success till the end. Even in his professional nadir he showed enduring optimism and show what one can achieve with optimism and belief."

 Dr Tom Muha, Psychologist

"The Best Possible Self positive psychology exercise is one of the most recognized methods for boosting happiness. Researchers find it has long-term effectiveness and people report that it’s immediately beneficial. The exercise has been shown to boost people’s positive emotions, happiness levels, optimism, hope, improve coping skills, and elevate positive expectations about the future."

Prof Abdul Shakoor Shah in "In the pursuit of happiness"

"Focus on more happy and optimistic thoughts. Prioritize the positive aspects of different problems and issues in life because there are two parts to developing helpful and optimistic thinking.

"The first is to eliminate unhelpful negative thoughts and the second is to plant more positive optimistic thoughts.

The pursuit of happiness is fundamentally a skill, and like any other skill becomes easier and more effective with practice."

Elon Musk

"I think as a general rule of living, it is better to err on the side of being optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and right. And if you're going to err on one side or the other, it's just a higher quality of life to err on the side of being optimistic and risk being wrong than pessimistic and right. Optimism is going to make you happy.”

Jim Spigener

"Leadership does not exist without optimism. Optimism is the secret to motivation, happiness and self-worth!"


Read more on Infectiously Optimistic Leadership


Scott Samson

"What makes me an Optimist? I find being an optimist brings out the best in people, in the workplace and in our private lives. It helps generate success and more importantly, happiness."

Andrew Stoner, Former Deputy Premier NSW

“I know I am blessed to be an optimist. My lofty goals in life have been shaped by optimism, it lifts me off the canvas when the inevitable hard knocks come, and it enables me to experience happiness in the little things in life.”


John Addison, Success Magazine

"People are naturally drawn to leaders who see the world through a lens of optimism. Nobody wants to work for a manager who thinks the organization will fail. No one dreams of being mentored by a boss who doesn’t believe in his or her company’s ability to overcome hardships. People want to be led by those who see the world with hope, excitement and happiness."


Diane G. Tillman, Living Values Author

“Optimistic leadership is very needed at this critical juncture in the world. While some governments and many NGOs are moving toward positive solutions to the environmental and the plethora of social challenges, other governments and radical groups are engaged in blatant injustice and violence. Optimistic leadership generates hope; it nourishes the belief that all will be well. This belief is important for emotional wellbeing; it fuels greater cooperation and harmony in the community and workplace with tangible benefits in productivity, health and happiness. But optimistic leadership must be paired with values to be sustainable. Optimistic leadership paired with guile and egocentric selfishness deceives over time, generating mistrust, cynicism, and hopelessness, fear or hate. Optimistic leadership paired with respect for others empowers. I feel we need leaders who deeply understand the importance of inclusion and equality. A visible commitment to the values of peace, respect and equality help ameliorate the feelings of exclusion and bitterness which fuel violence and unite us to work for the common good. Optimistic leadership based on respect for all creates hope, positive solutions, a sense of belonging, and humanizes us all.”

Nick Smit, International Affairs Expert

“I am optimistic for the future of the world’s population as rising education standards, nutrition, disease control, birth control and employment, particularly in hitherto impoverished regions, are leading to a better life for more people. I am worried by the tendency of many in the developed world to want everything to stay the way it is now, e.g. to stop replacing native growth with rural development and rural by urban development. People seem to be happy live on cleared bushland but refuse to allow anyone else to clear bushland to live on. A major challenge for leaders of the future is to find the right balance between development and conservation which will be key to improving global living standards and thus, happiness. Too many in the developed world are fearful of change at a time when the rate of change, particularly in the case of technological change, is accelerating rapidly.”






Gerry O'Sullivan, Change Manager (Instructional Design), Westpac Group 

"What makes me optimistic?  I chose to feel happy now."

Mark Williamson, CEO of Action for Happiness

"Authentic leaders are realists as well as optimists, able to show vulnerability, admit mistakes and to compromise where necessary for the greater good."



Nina Greig-Towers, The Future Business Council

“Not being optimistic about your work, your team or about you illustrates that something major is failing or there are deep failures in your work. Whatever it may be to be a leader is to give hope, happiness, education, motivation and so on. Not being optimistic doesn’t allow you to believe in the impossible, thus your team never striving for the impossible.”




John Cortese, Principal at Notre Dame, Shepparton
"What makes me optimistic?  Seeing people be happy and succeeding or working through life struggles."



Kay Clancy

"Our thought patterns can tell us that happiness is a state we will achieve upon realisation of something, "I'll be happy when….".  

"This suggests that happiness is an external force to be hunted down and hankered after. Happiness, I have found, isn't in the big external things. It's in the many small everyday things. Happiness lives within and, as such, can be created by us.

"Experiencing happiness requires us to slow down and notice the many moments of lightness and joy. A sunrise, a flower, a song, a smile, a deep breath, an achievement, it's different for each of us. What is true for all is that happiness is a state of being and not a state of doing. What is also true is that happiness is fuel, and we need to keep that fuel tank topped up. It's in the small things in everyday life; it's part of the flow and rhythm of life, and it's fluid and not fixed. Happiness is not a place.

"Not forgetting that happiness is not a solo experience. My happiness tank can refill because of the happiness of others. AND it's valuable to remember that I can plant the seeds of happiness for others to reap."

Rob Volpe

"optimism is a key to being happy"

Noirin Mosley

'Happiness is contagious: It doesn't matter if the happiness is yours or someone else's; it's happiness - and just being part of it is good enough."

Michael Lappen

"Optimism is Abundant Happiness" (April 2024)

Victor Perton

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.

Victor Perton in "Optimism: The How and Why"

"Rigorous studies demonstrate that gratitude journaling and expressing thanks can increase one’s happiness. It improves mental health, and increases happiness, life satisfaction, joy and optimism. In addition, it improves physical health through better sleep, reduced anxiety and lower levels of inflammation."

Gratitude JournalProject Optimism has produced "The Optimist's Gratitude Journal: 100 days to share and develop your gratitude" which is very helpful.


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