By Victor Perton, Author of Optimism: The How and Why
Optimism, like pessimism, is infectious. So make a point to maximise your time spent with optimistic people.
Generally, optimists attract other optimists. Choose your company wisely with people who fill your glass of optimism and joy. It can become a virtuous circle as you seek out optimistic companions and people seek your company.
Positive and optimistic people and their conversations will boost your optimism and joy. Being around optimistic people can positively improve your mental health and well-being. Their positive energy and outlook can help reduce stress and anxiety and promote feelings of happiness and contentment.
Pessimistic people sap your energy. There will be times when you have to spend time with them - they may be family, old friends and work colleagues. Do what you must do; however, try to spend the rest of your time with optimistic people.
Lead the conversation with positive questions.
Prepare for gatherings by bringing to mind positive stories you have heard or read recently.
Asked by me what makes him optimistic, “True North” Professor Bill George, Harvard Business School, said “I am optimistic because I believe in the inherent goodness of people and I am surrounded with positive optimistic people. What a blessing!”
Paul Wheelton AM KSG told me, "My success in business has come about by only associating with positive people. Avoid the glass half empty people - they drain your energy and turn your imagination off. Make a decision at the start of every day to be the glass half full person and before too long you are hard wired for success."
Gordon Tredgold said, "Surround yourself with positive people and see their optimism give you the strength to try new things."
The sometimes-controversial Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, said, "it's so important to surround yourself with people who are grounded and really optimistic."
Our Advisory Board Member, John Hagel, puts it very well. John said to me, "There are two types of people in the world - energy drainers and energy amplifiers. Optimistic people are energy amplifiers, especially if their optimism comes from the passion of the explorer. The more optimistic people connect with each other, the more energy they can generate together - it will go exponential."
Exercise: List the most optimistic People you Know. If they are in the same area you live in and work in, organise a coffee with them - ideally 3 or 4 around the table to get the conversation going.
Exercise: Write down one paragraph or sentence on why it's important to surround yourself with optimistic people.
Laura Kuhar, CSIRO
"I was always told to think positively and to stick around positive people, so optimism is mostly a state of mind for me. Sometimes though, optimism is a choice - it is not always easy to find an element of good in the worst situations, but it is possible, even if I have to look really hard!"
Dr Wendy Patrick
"We are drawn to people who make us feel happy, hopeful, and optimistic, and when they are gone, we want to see them again."
Sam Knight, World Commerce & Contracting Global Council Member
“Being positive and optimistic inspires others. It creates ideas and drives collaboration and thought-sharing. I aim to be an optimist and surround myself with optimists. We are the people who can face a challenge head-on and come up with multiple options to make the best of any situation."
Tony Harding, Photographer
"Embracing optimism and strength of will over adversity can be a game-changer for us and our colleagues - to enable us to achieve our goals in life. I recommend we embrace optimism champions and role models as part of our journey in life."
Sharyn County, Head Of Procurement at Jemena
"What makes me optimistic is people: Meeting, working with and leading passionate, motivated people. Seeing those I lead and have led be successful and creating a safe environment that takes into account the differences in people to enable this."
Gönül Serbest, Chief Executive Officer, Global Victoria
"Optimism is magnetic - anything is possible when you attract positive energy and people through the right mindset."
Louise Scott Heatley, World Commerce and Contracting
"Striving to see the positive, surrounding myself with like-minded people and being grateful for all that I have makes my life so much happier and more optimistic than ever!"
Mary Berry, Communities of Respect
“What makes me optimistic? Being surrounded by amazing people who work selflessly to help others and pave futures of opportunity, inclusion, resilience and strength within our communities."
Khurram Khani, Senior Associate, Risk Execution at NAB
"I feel optimistic because there are still fantastic people around us who are resilient, positive and optimistic. These individuals are the community's spine and play a dynamic role in mentoring youth like me in the right direction. They are the same individuals who volunteer their time and efforts to give back to their local communities and future generations."
Gary Gopinathan, Executive Director, The John Maxwell Team
"As an entrepreneur and leader, I find optimism through surrounding myself with positivity and positive people.”
Christalla Jamil, Headteacher, Eastfield Primary
"By having faith and helping others, my optimism grows because I am thankful. I try to surround myself with positive people, and whatever life throws at me, I seek solutions."
Maria Govers, Director Business Operations at GenWest
“I like being optimistic and being surrounded by optimism. Optimism creates positive energy and inspires me to find solutions and opportunities. As a leader, I find myself using positive energy created by my optimism to inspire, lead the way and make work fun empowering the team to find solutions and opportunities."
Maureen Metcalf, Author and 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.”
“I’m an optimist and have surrounded myself with action-driven optimistic people to provide more opportunity to all and especially those who are disadvantaged.”
"I surround myself with positive energy, this is not to say I don’t like to be challenged, however, a healthy debate can also have positive energy. I attract positive energy to create an optimistic outlook and outcomes."
Lee Tonitto, CEO of the Australian Council of Professions
"I believe optimism is in my nature. I surround myself with positive people. I try everyday to value the small things. I support other people. I laugh everyday."
“Being part of a community or group is a great way to keep optimistic and motivated as you can see what you’ve achieved together, for example how many trees have been planted...
“Being optimistic increases resilience when coming up against something that seems impossible to solve. Having hope and positivity for the future will in turn decrease anxiety and depression.”
Dave Buettner, founder of the Blue Zones Projects,
“We know that behaviours are measurably contagious, People in Blue Zones are living longer and are happier than most of us as a result of their environment. Rather than sign up for some positive psychology class, proactively make a friend who you know is positive and optimistic. For every new happy person, you add to your network, your own happiness goes up."
Anil Dash, CEO of Glitch
“If you can trust in a community, and you can trust in your ability to express yourself, and you can trust in having a safe place to share your ideas, that gives you space to be optimistic,. It gives you space to have some hope to think you have something to share when the ground is shifting under you and you can’t take people at their word.”
Angel Chernoff in 9 Ways to Become an Optimist
"You are only as good as the company you keep. If you’re around gloomy people, there’s a good chance you won’t be smiling. Make it your mission to dodge negativity. Surround yourself with supportive friends who have positive outlooks. As they say, if you want to soar with the eagles, you have to stop hanging out with the ducks.
"Optimism is a learned habit, and it is positively contagious. Surround yourself with people who could infect you with positivity. In turn pass your new good mood on to a friend or stranger in words and deed – let somebody have that parking space, let that person with only a few items cut in front of you at the market. The simple act of doing something nice for others is actually a good pick-me-up all by itself."
Bedros Keuilian, Fit Body Boot camp
“Only share your big dreams, ambitions, and goals with the people in your life who are positive, optimistic, and have similar ambitions. Those are the people who will encourage, motivate, and inspire you to become the best version of yourself.”
Dr Uzma IqBal, Cardiologist
“You can increase your optimism level if you surround yourself with positive people"
"What makes me optimistic? I am a fortunate person, surrounded by creative and determined people who love solving problems; when they nail it, the joy is infectious, and when they don’t succeed, rather than dwell on the ‘failure’, they seek the next juicy problem. This makes me optimistic and inspires me to keep climbing those mountains."
Don Tomasulo in "The 7 Thinking Habits of High-Hope People"
"High-hope people are those who surround themselves with positive people. This is one way they help to keep a positive mindset. This doesn’t mean they cannot tolerate someone’s difficulties, negativity, or struggle. But it does mean that they tend to spend more time associating with people who share an optimistic and proactive attitude."
Giang Cao Ho My, Founder of Mind Flower in Equanimity: How to Stand out with a Perfectly Still Mind
"Choose Friends who Stay Cool: It sounds anodyne. But surrounding yourself with friends of positive energy can help you train yours. Positivity helps you remain more balanced when faced with difficult situations. Imagine, meeting a friend around a coffee who does not stop complaining about everything? I believe you’d prefer sitting with someone who is full of joy and optimism. Believe me, as social beings, we are influenceable. Joy and positivity are contagious. Why not practicing to be yourself a source of positive energy for your friends?"
"Opt for healthy connection. Disaster can strike. Humans can behave badly. But when we persistently focus on the worst, we pickle ourselves in damaging stress hormones which undermine our health and cloud our judgment. Extreme pessimism makes us want to disconnect from the human race itself — which is not good for us or for the human race. As the pandemic reminds us, human life is ultimately about connection. When we find ourselves spinning off into Gloomtown, connection puts us back on track. Wander in nature or the neighborhood. Visit with a friend virtually or physically. Help a cause or organization you believe in. If you are feeling solitary, connect with your emotions in vigorous movement or pour them out on a page."
Read more of these inspiring quotable quotes in "Optimism: The How and Why" by Victor Perton, CEO of The Centre for Optimism.