As one of The Eight Pillars of Happiness, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that optimism enables happiness. But being optimistic, much like the other pillars, is often easier said than done.
Let’s try to make it a bit easier by making it concrete. How can we be optimistic right now, at this exact moment in time?
Start with a specific personal challenge – what decision do you need to make right now in your life?
It might be a big decision like whether to apply for that job you heard about. Or it might be smaller, say, whether or not to invite your second cousin’s new boyfriend to your holiday gathering.
Now, list the potential good that could come from the decision, no matter the choice you make.
If we look at life as a series of positive outcomes, if we stay optimistic, making decisions and facing challenges isn’t so difficult. It’s all easier because we see the good in any outcome.
Sure, not everything will go our way, but there is always good around us. It’s our choice to see it.
So, that personal challenge you’re currently facing? Look for the good in any of the possible decisions. It’s there, you just have to acknowledge it.
That job could be the stepping stone to the career shift you’ve wanted to make. Also, you really like your coworkers at your current place. There’s potential happy no matter what you decide.
Your second cousin’s new boyfriend might be the perfect antidote to your rambling aunt. Or you’d get to spend more time catching up with your second cousin if she came solo. There’s potential happy no matter what you decide.
That’s the thing with optimism and happiness – optimism is understanding, accepting and appreciating that there’s always potential for happiness.