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A Million Voices of Optimism

We ask people "What makes you Optimistic?"   One of our strategic goals is to stimulate and collect one million voices of optimism.

In this blog collection of optimism on the way to "A Million Voices of Optimism," members and subscribers of The Centre for Optimism can post what makes them optimistic and the answers from people they have asked. 

If you want to contribute to this valuable global resource, please email our COO Victor Perton for a free subscription or support our work by joining as a member.

  • Sunday, May 30, 2021 6:28 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

  • Sunday, May 30, 2021 6:27 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

  • Sunday, May 30, 2021 6:26 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

  • Saturday, May 29, 2021 6:59 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    “I think we need to be more optimistic and more positive about politics ... not turn on each other, and certainly not attack each other in this sort of negative way.”

  • Saturday, May 29, 2021 6:52 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    A friend of mind went for a Covid test out at the centre near the airport last week. As she described her experience, it was like a review of a first class hotel. The receptionist was very welcoming. She looked very glamorous even through her PPE gear. The security guard was very helpful. The nurse who administered the test was so caring and supportive.

    Now, I have heard many people describe their experiences of Covid testing, but none in those terms. It reminded me of the image of a girl boarding a train, I often use in the ads for my courses with the caption,  “Wherever you go, you bring yourself with you.”

    My friend, of course, is one of the most optimistic people I know, with a great sense of humour.  She has like all of us, experienced highs and lows in her life, but has always been able to come out smiling, and keep “smelling the roses”. She is a very realistic and resourceful person, and is always able to see and draw out the good in other people and situations. Some might say she lives a charmed life, but I believe it is her outlook, her optimistic mind set that creates it. 


    Some of us are more naturally cheerful and optimistic than others. This is called ‘dispositional optimism” and it, and its opposite, “dispositional pessimism” have a strong genetic influence. So, whether your parents were happy and cheerful, or depressed and anxious, is likely to effect your disposition.

    If our state of happiness or unhappiness was determined solely by our genetics, I probably wouldn’t be involved in teaching my “Take the Steps” courses or even being involved in psychotherapy or counseling.  Fortunately, research by Martin Seligman and other psychologists has conclusively shown that developing an optimistic mind set is something we can learn. Optimistic thinking is a skill set that can be taught.

    But why, if I am a bit of a nay sayer, and more aware of the downsides in myself, people and situations, would I want to change? Is it not more realistic, does it not prepare me more for shocks, so I am better able to bounce back? If I expect little, I can’t be disappointed! Are those optimists not a bit “pie in the sky”, and in for a rude awakening one of the days? 


    The answer is “ no “actually. Resilience, the capacity to bounce back after challenges, is actually related to a person’s level of positivity to start with – the more positive a person is, the faster they bounce back after a shock or challenge. Research shows that optimists tend to be healthier, to live eight years longer on average than pessimists, to have more long-lasting relationships, to end up in higher status jobs, and to earn more money.  Pessimism, basically, should come with a health warning!

    Seligman’s research shows that adults and children thought the skills of optimistic thinking, halved the incidence of depression and anxiety in the following two years, so that might be of interest too!

    A couple of weeks ago, a young client of mine, a persistent worrier and overthinker came up with this insight “ you know I have just realized that before an exam or a date or whatever, I put myself through hell. No matter even if the situation turns out well, I have already suffered. And if it turns out badly, I have suffered twice”.The insight propelled her forward to develop a different thinking style. 

    So when it comes to either physical or mental health, pessimism should come with a health warning!


    The whole area of CBT( Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is devoted to changing ways of thinking, but here, for anyone interested in dipping their toes in the water, is my very brief, easy to learn version: :

    WHEN GOOD THINGS HAPPEN: an optimist expands the scope of it, there’s going to be more of it, it is going to continue into the future, it will effect other things in my life in a good way, things that I have done helped bring this about. 

    On the other hand, a pessimist narrows down the scope of it : its just this once, it won’t effect anything else in my life, it’s a fluke that it happened, not due my efforts.

    WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN: an optimist narrows down the scope of it, its just this once, it won’t happen again, its not entirely my fault.

    A pessimist expands the scope of it, it’s going to keep happening, its going to affect everything I do, it will ruin my life, its all my fault.

    In a nutshell, expand on the good stuff, narrow the scope of the bad stuff. Also, it helps to think of your head as a theatre: replay the good stuff, stop reviewing the bad plays!

  • Wednesday, May 26, 2021 10:56 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

  • Wednesday, May 26, 2021 6:57 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    “Climate impacts are already being acutely felt, but our experience gives us optimism that we can meet global climate goals while creating social and economic opportunities – with contributions coming from all corners of the globe."

    UAE's Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021 11:20 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021 6:41 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)
    Optimism for me is knowing when I get up in the morning I have an opportunity to make a small but positive difference in the world.

  • Sunday, May 09, 2021 6:40 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    “I’m confident that her optimistic leadership and deep commitment to health equity, diversity and inclusion, and continuous patient care improvement will help us shape our future to better meet the needs of our patient families today and in the future.”

    Dr. Marc Gorelick, president and CEO of Children’s Minnesota on the appointment of Caroline Njau as senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer.

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