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POSITIVELY SPEAKING: Be optimistic and be happy!

I hope you are off and running to a great 2019!

Thank you for your emails. I love hearing from you. I received an email last week from a reader in Iowa who asked, “How is it possible that just by being optimistic, you will become successful?”

My answer probably shocked her, but I responded, “It’s probably not possible. Your chances for success are always better with optimism over pessimism, but you must also take action.”

But before we go on … I want to point out that most of the email I receive regarding optimism or attitude are regarding success. That always surprises me because I believe the biggest impact optimism has in our lives is to help us be happier and healthier.

Optimism isn’t just a necessary attribute in business or competition, but in life. Psychology Today says, “Optimists have healthier outlooks and tend to live longer than their more pessimistic counterparts; they also are less susceptible to the negative effects of illness, fatigue and depression.”

In other studies, it is shown that a pessimistic attitude can trigger inflammation in your body, while an optimistic person recovers more quickly from illness. Never discount the mind-body connection. Since it is an individual choice that we make to be an optimist or pessimist, why would anyone choose pessimism? Optimism truly makes you happier and lays the groundwork for a higher quality life.

An optimist sees an opportunity within every difficulty, while a pessimist sees every difficulty within an opportunity. What fun is that? Our chances plummet when difficulties obscure our vision of good health, happiness and yes, success.

I am a strange combination of an eternal optimist while also being a Chicago Bears and Cubs fan. Through most of my life, both teams have lost. I’m always optimistic, even though I understand that my optimism doesn’t impact their performance. Then why be optimistic you may be asking? Because it positively impacts my ability to enjoy the games. Why would I watch a game that I believe would result in a loss?

While writing this column, I watched the Bears lose to the Eagles in the final seconds of the game. It was an exciting game that came down to the final play. I am certain the Bears players and coaches were optimistic about this game, yet they still lost. The lesson here is that optimism doesn’t assure success, but it profoundly enhances your chances of enjoying your life and succeeding. If the Bears took the field and believed from the opening kick off that they were going to lose, they probably would have lost by 50 points. Why try if you believe you can’t succeed?

It is also important to note that optimism drives us to do the enthusiastic preplanning and groundwork in preparation of winning. It changes work into passion.

There is a story told by a friend, fellow optimist and author in Australia, Victor Perton, that I’d like to share.

John and Mary are talking at the office water cooler.

“Why are you so optimistic about 2019?” John asks. “What do you think it will bring? The stock market is down, our politicians are calling each other names, the government is shut down and the forecasters are predicting a colder than normal winter. Everything is a mess!

“I think it will bring flowers,” Mary responds with a smile.

“Flowers?” John rolls his eyes. “Why would you expect flowers?”

“Because I am planting flowers seeds,” Mary smiles and walks away.

It’s a cute little story that makes me ask, “What is it that you are planting?”

There is a difference between optimism and foolishness. Optimism is positively looking forward to the delicious fruits and vegetables in your garden, after you have tilled the ground and planted the seeds. Foolishness is planting nothing and expecting a harvest. Always expect the best possible outcome from any situation, but to expect a harvest without planting is foolishness. Be an optimist with a plan and healthy work ethic.

As regular readers of my column know, I write often about the importance of optimism because I believe our attitude is a major contributor to the quality of life we enjoy. I write in hopes of uplifting and encouraging readers to live a life of happiness and success. I realize that pessimism seems to be in style, but I’ve never met a happy pessimist. If I am right … and we can choose between optimism and pessimism … which will you choose?

Will you join me and choose a life of optimism?

PS – Do you know someone who needs to read this? Will you please share this column with them?

GARY W. MOORE is a syndicated columnist, speaker and author of three books including the award-winning, critically acclaimed, “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at www.garywmoore.com

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