Thursday, August 11, 2011

Realistic Optimism. How to be an Optimist without Denying Reality.

An optimist sees the favorable side of events or conditions and expects a favorable outcome. This is truly a vital part of success. However, there is a very big difference between believing success will come your way and believing success will come easily to you. The realistic optimist believes they will be successful, but understands that they will have to work hard, plan, persist, and make the right choices to make success happen.

If you are realistic about the obstacles or challenges you may face along your path to success, you are able to plan for them. An unrealistic optimist may say this is a negative approach. However, expressing concerns and thinking about potential problems is actually very proactive. Here are several ways to ensure your success at achieving your realistically optimistic goals.

Prepare and Plan
One of my favorite quotes is “luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” No matter the opportunity that may arise, if you are not ready for success you may not be able to take advantage of that opportunity. Don’t simply react to whatever comes your way. Be proactive and make a plan for anything you imagine may come between you and your goals.

Work Hard
People who are not successful often believe that success is simply a matter of luck or of being in the right place at the right time. However, ask any successful person and they will tell you that success is proportional to the amount of work you are willing to put in. Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” To reach expert level, researchers agree that 10,000 hours of practice is the minimum that is necessary. Are you willing to be exceptional?

Believe in Yourself
How can you expect others to believe in you, unless you first believe in yourself? Of course you will make mistakes along the way. Accept those mistakes, own up to them, and then learn from them so that you don’t make them again.

Persevere and Persist
The dictionary says perseverance and persistence are the steadfast continuation toward a course of action in spite of opposition, difficulties, or obstacles. Many experts think that failure is one of the keys to success and that your rate of success is directly proportional to the number of times you fail. In fact, it was Thomas Edison that said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

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