I was talking recently to the smartest man in the Universe, my Grandfather. The tune “What a Wonderful World” came up. It’s his favorite song. For every listener it’s a song about looking at the world as a wonderful place. It got me thinking about optimism.
According to Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman (who’s conducted more than 600 relevant studies):
“Optimists make more money and are more loyal.”
In a study among life-insurance agents, Seligman found that the most optimistic salespeople sold 88 percent more than the most pessimistic ones. The study also suggested that agents in the least optimistic quartile were three times likelier to quit than agents in the most optimistic quartile. Other studies have shown that this data is consistent with the findings in other business areas (i.e in business areas beyond sales).
Obviously we have to stay grounded. We can’t be optimistic to the exclusion of realism. But if the evidence says that optimism helps make us to conduct our lives more positively (and makes us money too – although I’ll take “positive” any day!), then optimism gets my vote.
So why not start now? Try this.
- Find three things in your work you can be optimistic about: For example, aiming to have great relationships with the people you work with. Make a point of it.
- Ask yourself: Does optimism help me personally in times of stress? Does it help with the deadlines I’m up against?
- Ask yourself: Do I love what I do? Does it help when my personal life is stressful? Does it provide me and my family with a great way of life? Does that way of life help when work is not so fulfilling?
- Ask yourself: Am I learning? Will what I’m learning stand me in good stead a little further down the road.
The list of forward-looking, positive, naturally-optimistic questions is endless.
And listen. One last thing. As a once-a-week exercise, write down three things to be optimistic about. Then, when times of trouble happen and being optimistic is really hard, pull out that list and look it over. It truly is a great way of bringing perspective to the way we’re thinking.
Feel any different? LET ME KNOW!