Successful Life Coaching & Leadership Development

eNewsletter #6, June, 2008

This month— Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

1.  Can we learn to become more optimistic?

2.  The missing newsletters.

3.  Favorite websites.

Hello there!

Can we learn to become more optimistic?

In our rapidly changing, global community, there are many things beyond our control and it is easy to feel that there is little we can do to change things. In other words it is easy to feel pessimistic.

Of course, some of us are more pessimistic about things than others. Pessimism is one of a number of personality traits that psychologists once believed to be fixed…meaning that we were stuck with them.  

The good news is that research is proving that this is only partly true.

In fact, Positive Psychologists have discovered that we CAN change many of the HABITS that we thought were FIXED.

According to a recent article in Psychology Today “…more than any other personality trait optimism is a matter of practice.”

 Being an optimist is a habitual way of being in the world. This is a HABIT that can be learned!

If you are still in doubt you can check out The Positive Psychology Center at Penn State University.  (web site below)

Martin Seligman is one of the founders of this Center which promotes the “scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive”.

Hopefully you already feeling pretty optimistic but in case you tend to see the glass half empty perhaps the following study will encourage you to try something different.

In  2004 a Dutch study found that optimists tend to live longer. Of the 900 people that participated in this research project, those with high levels of optimism had a 55% lower risk of death from all causes than those who were more pessimistic.

There are lots of other benefits to being an optimist. Probably the most significant one is that if you are an optimist, you will generally find that good things happen to you!

Here is an exercise to get you starting flexing your optimism muscle:

Create a Success List!

A success list is a record of all the things that you have achieved and when you achieved them. When you are feeling pessimistic because something hasn’t worked out the way you planned you can get out your success list and relive your accomplishments. Believe me it works.

Your success list can include anything that you feel describes a time when you achieved something you were working toward. It can be small, such as planning a vacation or organizing a party. Or, it may be something big like switching jobs, getting married, buying a house, earning a degree or starting a business.

Where are the missing newsletters?

A couple of people have asked me about the April and May newsletters and why they didn’t arrive in their mail boxes. This is a bad news (no pun intended) and good news story. The bad news…I didn’t get the newsletters written in time. The good news…Cathy MacKay, Webmaster, has posted them on the website so you can read them.

This month’s favorite websites

This site has been around for years. It is packed full of information, ideas and tools on a variety of topics including: time management, stress management, leadership, and creativity.

You can sign up for an e-newsletter and download a free Personal Development Plan Workbook.

This is the website for The Center for Positive Psychology and it is full of resources. There are links to articles, books, videos and even an invitation to participate in one of their on-line research studies.

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