Friday, January 20, 2012

How An Optimist Thinks

This week I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by writer and speaker Michael Gelb who, according to his website, is: 'a creativity and innovation expert, an inspiring speaker, and a juggler.'  I did, indeed, watch him juggle.  And I felt reenergized after his presentation.

Gelb is learning from the masters.  He aspires to think like Da Vinci and innovate like Edison. 

Many things struck me during his presentation but one idea stayed with me: to be optimistic in life.  I'd say that's a pretty standard inspirational tactic.  But when he broke it down for me, I thought that taking optimism to a new level might be necessary. 

To summarize what Gelb said, when optimists encounter failure, they believe that what happened to them is not entirely personal, that it's a temporary setback, and that it won't happen again.  Pessimists believe the exact opposite: Their failure is completely personal, the current situation is never going to change, and they will fail the next time.

The reverse occurs when one achieves success.  Optimists believe they are responsible for their achievements, that the moment is permanent, and that success will continue happening for them. Pessimists believe their success must be because of outside forces, it's a fluke, and will never happen again.

I consider myself a fairly optimistic person but there is always room for improvement.  And I liked that kind of breakdown.  Knowing how an optimist and a pessimist think is important.  I'd like to follow an optimist's lead.

Thanks Michael.

So, what do you think?  Room for more optimism in your life?


  1. Being more optimistic is one of my goals for the new year. And I love the way he puts it. It's very enlightening.

  2. MY husband is my optimism mentor. He rarely lets things get him down. What I've learned is that optimism is a choice. I always feel uplifted coming to your blog :) Thanks.

  3. My husband, too, is an optimist. I have a tendency towards pessimism but I am always working on my attitude, so i catch it pretty quickly. I like this breakdown of the terms. Thank you.

  4. That's really an interesting way to look at it. I'm not all one way or the other, but I tend to be more pessimistic. Optimism is definitely a choice, but sometimes a hard one to make.