Being optimistic means maintaining the general notion that if people work and plan hard enough, they will eventually succeed—you especially. If you are a realist, you may note that in cold, hard reality this isn't always going to be the case, but the truth of the matter is, however, that people who maintain an optimistic attitude do succeed more often and remain better motivated and happier throughout their lives; you will be much better off believing the optimist's half-truth. Now, if self-induced brainwashing isn't your cup-of-tea, then you will simply have to understand that nothing good comes from doubting yourself or the world, and if your designs are frustrated, even after hard work, the truth still remains that hard work is generally rewarded and you will be no better off for sulking about disappointments.

Changing habits are easier than changing entire world-views, so if you have a ingrained pessimistic outlook toward life then you might be better suited changing certain habits that will help you grow into a new attitude rather than trying to change by force of will. Simply by changing the way you express yourself, move, smile, and talk about yourself (and others), you can eventually infect your sour attitude with more optimism—or at least soften it up a little bit. After you are made more and more malleable by positive behavior, you will achieve better success when trying to alter the way you view the events around you.

It's also possible to change your thoughts and feelings as well. Even if you decide begin this journey toward optimism through habit-changing, you might still want to take part in several more contemplative exercises as well. The written word is a great method for tweaking your inner thought-processes, for instance. Anything that is written down—by hand especially—becomes more permanently entrenched in your mind. If you keep on telling yourself that everything is going to be okay and you can never seem to believe it, working through your feelings and plans with the written word will be much more convincing. I've included some ideas down below that involve this technique.

Changing your life-style might also help you improve your state-of-mind. If one of your relationships is experiencing a problem, if your budget is a mess, or your house a sty, then it might well be difficult to be optimistic in general. You might have to fix your sources of stress and other personal problems on your mind before you will feel free to experience more optimism. Finding success (or failure) in areas unrelated to work can influence how confident you feel in general as you try to navigate the business world.

Down below are some activities that might help you find some more optimism in your life. If your problems are linked to problematic depression, however, you will want to get professional help instead of trying to tackle them on your own.


  • Smile, Skip, and Sing: Okay, maybe I'm being a little silly, but doing any of those three things wouldn't be a bad idea. Simple changes to your physicality can make you feel like a different person, even if you don't feel entirely sincere at first. People who begin smiling more start feeling happier. If you walk (or skip) like you don't have a care in the world, you will begin to feel less stress, and many of us know that singing to the radio can lift a mood. Attacking sadness and depression, if present in your life, is a key step to having optimism. How many miserable, optimistic people have you met in life?
  • Change Your Tone: Spend some time thinking about the way you speak when your happy and, well, more optimistic. Actively attempt to include that tone and rhythm into your everyday speech. It might be hard to be cheerful when your feel really down, but when you are hovering in the middle, it probably won't be too much effort to alter conversation to a happier tone. You will begin to feel a little better over time and the average person will feel a little more comfortable around you as a bonus. Make sure you mark yourself at fault in your virtue journal if you forget to do this, since this habit isn't quite so easy to pick up without fairly constant reminders.
  • Do Some House-Cleaning: There might be some lingering trouble in your life that you were putting off, perhaps because you were not so eager to confront them, that are dragging down your mood and hope for the future. This could be trouble in a marriage, a bad budget, a constantly filthy car, or even a medical condition can bring down the tone of our daily thoughts. Things that are causing you daily stress are particularly good candidates for fixing.
  • Keep an Optimism Journal: Temporarily keep a good old-fashioned journal where you right about events of the day and hopes for the future, but instead of unloading all your disappointment or pain, try to write with the optimism you want to foster in yourself. Remember that over-negativity and hopelessness are never beneficial—even when those feelings have some truth to the situation. Begin thinking about solutions to problems and positive plans for the future instead of how difficult you life is, and you will come up more solutions and opportunities in the future. Remember to put your solutions and plans to work!
  • Work on Purposefulness: Optimism and feeling a sense of purpose tend to go hand-in-hand. I'm sure they might be some exceptions, but switching between one and the other, or working on them both simultaneously will likely result in each virtue propping the other up.

Your Record

Whenever you spend more than ten minutes or so feeling sorry for yourself, mark yourself at "fault". If you ever in conversation with another say that your situation is hopeless, then mark yourself at fault. Otherwise, you will have to practice careful self-reflection and determine when you're optimism is at fault—you know better than anyone about your own optimistic side (just try your best to be an impartial judge). Make some goals and plans to complete those goals, including plans to keep your planned activities in your mind throughout the day. If you fail to perform the activities or meet a goal, then mark yourself at fault.


If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.

John Heywood, English Playwright and Poet

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

Helen Keller, American Author and Educator who was born blind and deaf

If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.

Peace Pilgrim, American Spiritualist and "Peace Prophet"

Golden Mean

Systematic tendency to be over-optimistic

Recommended Reading

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life — by Martin E. P. Seligman

This book, written by a respected psychologist, claims that pessimists believe that setbacks are their fault and will last indefinitely, while optimists inherently believe that setbacks are temporary and can be overcome. He believes that optimism and be learned and used to bring more success and fulfillment in one's life.

Creating Optimism — by Bob Murray, Alicia Fortinberry

This book is more than a aim toward optimism, but for personal self-healing in general. The author present a seven-stage program for building healthier relationships and improving personal spirituality.

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment — by Martin E. P. Seligman

Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment: From the same author of "Learned Optimism" up above. This book focuses on using positive psychology in order to improve ones happiness and satisfaction in life. It includes tests, exercises, and an interactive website to help you complete your goals.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

Optimism is the foundation of courage. Nicholas Murray Butler