“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
– Oscar Wilde
By Team Flash
Natural optimism is difficult to maintain for most people. Usually, the rush of everyday life keeps us too pre-occupied to consider our outlook. So, most of the time we do not get to experience the gains made from a positive attitude. That is why it is so critical to celebrate the small everyday victories. These are the little bits of emotional fuel that will keep us running at our best throughout the day. A perfect example of this is from Samuel Ramirez’s experience when faced with the choice of getting a higher education.
“My optimistic journey started the first time someone started to develop and invest in me. My advisor at my local community college took a serious interest in my success and continuing education. She would always celebrate the small wins, such as a completed assignment, good grades, or even my moderate success with a class speech. One day she asked me about my life goals. Up until that point, I had never considered a long-term plan for my life, and she was the one who started me out on that path.”
The attitude we carry into unknown critical moments determines the rest of our lives and the quality with which we live them. How we view and treat failure is a good indication of how we treat almost anything in life. It is easy to be optimistic when you win, but failure is often viewed as the worst thing that can happen. When you lose, your personal drive can also be lost. If that happens, you will become like a car that only moves in reverse: only useful and effective in ideal circumstances. Being optimistic makes you tough. Someone who can take the good and the bad without breaking stride is someone who will succeed in the long run. Tyler Sons is a good example of this mental toughness and persistence who often finds himself juggling incredible workloads.
“It was so easy to let the stress of assignments and exams get the best of me and I would panic and procrastinate. Everything would pile up to the ceiling and my chances of success felt long gone. It just takes that one inspiring moment to be empowered with the magic of optimism. When I learn something new that I have never known before, I get excited, which helps me to push forward. I have learned that my attitude towards my responsibilities plays a crucial role in my performance.”
Being able to survive the tough times is a great skill, but if the tough times never stop, then getting through a couple of days does not amount to much. Changing the situation to your advantage is necessary if there is any hope for improvement in your situation. Otherwise, stagnation and constant stress will become the norm. Abhishek is a man determined to succeed and advance in every aspect of his life, and the LDP has helped him to do it.
“Last semester was challenging for me, as I was working on two research projects apart from my regular courses. At one point during the semester I was stressed and having an extremely difficult time managing two projects at once. I considered leaving one. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from LDP is to challenge the process. Instead of looking towards both projects as a burden, I started treating them as an opportunity to increase the proficiency of my time management skills. I gradually became better at managing my time for those projects, and was able to deliver both while meeting their deadlines.”
A more perfect example of turning a potentially disastrous situation into a complete victory could not be asked for. Now, everything we have talked about so far is all well and good in the classroom and in our personal lives, but do such examples hold up to scrutiny in the workplace? In keeping with the LDP’s focus on the STEM fields there is significant data and research that says “Yes.” Effectiveness and initiative are the major qualities that make a difference between positive and negative attitudes. Either of these attitudes are infectious and will color an organization in every aspect. That is why it is critical that the leader of any group has a good attitude and practices optimism.
Summary by Team Flash
Optimism in the work place is all about encouraging small wins and strengthening relationships. An optimist in a workplace or classroom will support their team by recognizing everybody’s effort and celebrating the small wins. This kind of encouragement will help in boosting the team’s performance and, in turn, increases the productivity of the group. In a 2009 review published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 83 studies on optimism were analyzed and it showed that the more optimistic a person was, the healthier they tended to be. It is well known that healthier people are more productive and tend to be more creative. Many other researches have proven that optimism can help in increasing social connections and prevent depression. Strong bonding among team members and positive attitudes would bring tremendous increases in productivity and unit cohesion.
It is easy to dismiss optimism as a silly quirk of young children and starry-eyed college students, but I hope that we have shown, through our personal experiences, that optimism is a life-long corner stone to a firm foundation in school, business, and life.