We have all read articles and life hacks on how to be more optimistic and said, meh, that's just not me. Sometimes things get too tough and too hard for us that we think it’s impossible to make the change. Question is how do you see the bright side of things when life is throwing shade your way? The old me would probably sulk in a corner and think life is not worth living. But those days are long gone, because I am now an optimist convert. Those who probably know me would be in disbelief, but like all changes, it's a process that takes commitment and a lot of work.
The Mindset Shift
I had the tendency to think of what would go wrong in any situation to help 'soften the blow' in case bad things indeed happen. I complained a lot and drained people’s energy with my negativity. I wasn't totally aware of it until the people I worked with started teasing me, calling me a negatron. At first, I was in denial, but later on I realized that it was true when I quit corporate and started working as a freelance customer service representative. While doing a crowdfunding project, I was amazed at how fiercely optimistic the founders were about hitting and eventually surpassing their goals. True enough, they hit their targets and went on to be the fastest funded shoes in their market. The experience was life changing for me, and from then on I wanted to know how it is to be like them. That was when I decided to change the way I think, and slowly I began to see what’s good and what’s possible.
Hang Around the Right Crowd
The people you're with greatly influences the way you think. I was blessed with the opportunity to work with talented people who also wanted us to grow as individuals. From having a limited vision of what I can do, I started to explore my skills and talents and thought about what I wanted to improve about myself. In one of our meetings, our boss told us about how important it was to expand our network, meet new people and learn new things. Because I wanted to pursue my passion as a writer, I started attending writing and entrepreneurial workshops to help jumpstart my career. I also got to know people who like me, was in the freelancing industry and learned tips on how to do my tasks better. This gave me the boost I needed to be more creative and hone my craft.
Say Yes, Say No
I began to see myself as a success and stopped comparing other people's achievements to my own. With this newfound confidence, I started saying yes to projects despite worries of not being able to meet my client’s expectation. Then, I learned how to handle my time better. I also learned how to organize stuff, to divide tasks and get things done. I realized I was also rearranging other stuff in my life. I started to like being out of my comfort zone and learned how to tame the panic monster inside my head.
While I said yes to the good things, I quickly learned that saying no is as important. Boy was it hard. Saying no teaches you discipline, especially when you have to say it to yourself. It has done more good than bad though, and has taught me to be stronger against the temptations of instant gratification, distractions, excuses, and the last minute trip to wherever that takes you away from what needs to be done.
Just Keep Swimming
Of course there will be Alanis-Morissette-Isn't-It-Ironic-days. Sometimes life just wants to test you, punch you in the face and laugh while you're bleeding on a white shirt you just washed and ironed the day before. That was too long, but you get the drift. This is where mantras come in handy; quotes and sayings to help you keep calm while facing the thunderstorms being thrown your way.
I got my inspiration from Dory and her famous line: just keep swimming. Just keep moving, keep going and things will get better. Eventually it does. Bad days make you appreciate the good ones, and it helps you achieve balance.
It helps to know that becoming an optimist is a process. There are still days that I slip and wallow in self-defeat, but unlike before, I make a conscious effort to pick myself up and keep going. At the end of it all, how you respond to situations is still a matter of choice.
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