Based on PositivelyPresent.com’s Gratitude Challenge I will reflect on some of these topics, without any particular timeline, let alone the goal to complete the whole list.
The Gratitude Challenge’s second topic is “Optimism”.
Compared to other people I probably worry less about the future and about what could go wrong. Many people told me they never saw me sad or discouraged. This especially applies for my private life. At work I can get stressed if deadlines are tight, but also there I generally believe that most things can be solved by an average person in a decent amount of time. This optimism admittedly stems also from the comfortable situation to have a family that would be there for me to help if needed. But these facts aside, as a way of life, I simply believe it is better to approach things positively rather than to expect the worst, just to then deal with a potentially self-fulfilling prophecy.
An important and rather recent change however is that I try to become more self-reflected (and fail many times). In the past I just “looked ahead” and did not get sad about things that might not have worked out ideally. Now I think that becoming “sad” for a moment is maybe not the worst if it helps you to learn and to improve for the future. A while ago I read an interview with a recruiter that focusses on executive personnel. He stated that if candidates could readily mention at least five things that they could have done better, he would not consider them for a position. Back then I thought that this was a weird approach, because he would automatically discard candidates who had not made that many mistakes. But this mindset was of course incredibly naive and oblivious to our own imperfection.
Once you start to take the time to reflect (I specifically blocked reflection time in my busy calendar), you will become aware of just how many mistakes each of us makes every single day. It does not feel great to realize this and it can also be quite a punch for an inflated ego. But becoming aware of one’s shortcomings and continuously working on them can also help to make us more relaxed and to hence have a more optimistic outlook for the future. I’m grateful for this realization. After all, optimism is not about unrealistic self-delusion, but about reasonable positivity.