It seems to me, an optimistic outlook is as vital to an optimistic outcome, as a negative outlook, is vital to a negative outcome. We unconsciously decide what we want of all things, even life itself, and we set ourselves to get it, be it a good outcome or a negative one. Sometimes it’s because we consider ourselves unworthy of this or that good, perhaps we have fallen below our misery quotient or simply that we hate ourselves so badly we can’t stand to see something go right, that we undermine our success. Thinking in negative terms, in negative ways, expecting negative things… will beget those negative things. While it can also be said to be true that thinking optimistically, acting optimistically and behaving optimistically will bring the best outcome to you, like a magnet does iron filings. This is such an important lesson to learn but is unknown to so many. If we want better outcomes, we need to think, act and expect better.
Of course that is not to say that all Pollianish notions will come true. There must be planning, preparation and follow through, to make an optimistic outlook something other than mere baseless hope. An optimistic attitude makes the preparation, planning and follow through much more likely. If we launch into a project with a positive attitude, we will spend more time planning, if we expect great things we will prepare more carefully and if we are optimistic while we are working on it, we will expend more effort in the process. All of which makes the best outcome more likely.
A negative attitude will undermine one’s efforts more effectively than groundwater hollowing a sinkhole in Florida. If we expect failure, our plans will be lackadaisical, if we don’t have hope our preparation will be half hearted and if we dwell on a negative possible outcome our work will be sloppy due to inattentiveness. A negative attitude will attract a negative outcome every time, unless dumb luck intervenes. With a positive attitude we will take more enjoyment in the process which makes the outcome naturally better, while focusing only on the outcome corrodes our enjoyment of the process, making a good outcome less likely.
A positive attitude is magnetic for people as well. We all want to be around positive people, it is in our nature, just as we avoid negative people. We seek out people who are fun to be around, those who are full of good news and people who make us feel good. A positive attitude cannot but do these things. If we have a positive attitude we can be complimentary without being deceitful, it is natural to be friendly without over familiarity and we tell stories of our successes and good things while avoiding the negative and bad, without being pretentious. Most people want to be around others who have a positive attitude.
A negative attitude is repulsive. Think about it, we all know the gloomy Gus who always has a sob story. They are draining. Ask them how they are and a river of pains, burdens and crosses emerge from their mouths. There could be a ton of good things happening in their lives but they only tell us about the negative. They hold you up for hours, (or at least it seems so), regaling you with their troubles. They have the Job complex. The sad thing is, they are avoided because of their constant complaining, while what they really need is the company, advice and shoulders of others.
The trick is to have a positive attitude. A positive attitude is as easy, and as hard, as to will it. Willing a positive attitude is not like willing a paper clip to bend or to force someone your mental slave, it is to make an intentional change in the way we think… then do it. We have to monitor our thoughts for a while until we become accustomed to thinking optimistically. We shouldn’t be vexed when we occasionally do think negatively, instead we should simply stay calm, let the negative thought pass and redirect our thoughts in a positive direction. Changing the way we think can be a very difficult thing to do. Our thoughts gouge deep channels in our minds, but the mind is ductile, those channels can be changed no matter how deep. When a rational maximizer finds a way to improve his or her life, at little or no cost, they take it… it is the best way to rationally maximize one’s outcome.