Thursday January 18th 2018





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The Optimist Frowned

I was reading something the other day and some dude was writing about how the people who talk about positive thinking are all full of it because nobody can be positive all the time.  I guess if he has come across people who think you have to be positive all the time in order to be positive…he makes a good point.

But, I thought his statements were a little off because not everyone who believes in the power of positive thinks you have to be positive all the time, every single minute in order to be a positive person.

If you read my stuff, you know I’m definitely one of those guys.

Thinking positive is a good thing.  Being optimistic is wonderful.  Being that was all the time, in my humble opinion, is pretty much impossible.

So does that mean that you’re not a positive minded person if you feel crappy one day.  No, of course it doesn’t. I’ve said before that being positive doesn’t mean walking around like The Joker with a grin literally plastered to your face.  To me, that’s not positive…it’s kinda kookie…and a little scary.

Being positive is more about a mindset.  It’s about looking for the good in the circumstances around you, remaining optimistic and focused on the opportunities that exist in every situation, and for the most part, being cheerful and enthusiastic.

There are going to be bad days.  Some lousy things are going to happen.  The more you can shift your perspective to realize that bad is often how we perceive things, when they really do contain some elements of good, the better.  But it’s a learning process.  You grow and learn by experiencing things and reacting to them.  You won’t always be able to do it with a smile. You’re going to experience frustration and disappointment.  You’re human.

Because you’re human, you need to take the pressure off of yourself.  If you’ve thought of being positive or thinking positive as sort of an all-or-nothing deal, where you’re either on all the time, or you’re just like the rest of the complainers and negative folks in the world…you need to get that type of thinking out of your head.

Relieve yourself of that pressure right now.  You are setting yourself up for some real lousy nights staring at the ceiling if you put unrealistic expectations like that on yourself.  I liken it to the religious person who believes they’re saved and going to heaven unless they slip up and do something bad, and then at that moment they’re right back on their way to hell.  Holy strait jackets, Batman!  That kind of thinking will drive you to the looney bin!

You’re gonna slip, you may even fall.  As long as you get back up, you can get right back into the groove.  Don’t think that positive thinking or a positive attitude, or being optimistic means you can’t have any thoughts to the contrary, ever.  That’s just not the case.

Keep the positive mindset and do the absolute best you can every single day.  It’s okay to frown, it’s okay to get angry, and it’s okay to have one of those days…and along those lines, it’s actually most effective if you recognize that it’s okay to be upset and just vent.  Get it out, so you can move on.

I wrote a piece about letting all the bad stuff out whenever you hit that wall.  If you’d like to read more about that, check this out: Learn to Unleash

Don’t worry about perfection.  Strive for it at your own pace and don’t lose sight of the fact that you get better and better with each experience in life.  Some great, some good, some not so good, but all valuable.

Oh, and smile as much as you can.  It is good for you!

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7 Responses to “The Optimist Frowned”

  1. Being happy is not the same as being optimistic but they are linked. Being sad does not make you a pessimist. Great points and thank for saying its okay.

  2. avatar Mike Shippey says:

    Roberta –

    I agree with you! I believe that being happy and being optimistic are definitely linked. If you are an optimist, you’ll naturally be happy most of the time. I love taking the pressure off though and knowing it’s okay to have a moment, or even a day, or even a rut!

    A lot of people feel pressure and actually hurt themselves by trying to live up to an impossible standard. I just want them all to know, “it’s okay to fall short sometimes”. In fact, that’s what makes you stronger.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.
    All the best

  3. Loved this Mike! You said it best, “It’s about looking for the good in the circumstances around you, remaining optimistic and focused on the opportunities that exist in every situation, and for the most part, being cheerful and enthusiastic.” That’s the way to live…even if things are not that good, seeing the good can make you feel better and can even turn things around quicker. Thanks Mike!

  4. Great points. I also share with my coaching clients that faking postivity can actually do more harm at times than good. If you do not feel you are in integrity by walking around with a big “fake-it-till-you-make-it” kind of grin then you may begin to lose respect for yourself causing a viscous downward spiral.

    Stop forcing the positivity and, as you say, focus on recovering from the negativity.

  5. Thank you for sharing this – very helpful for me today. I am the ultimate optimist – I have strong faith in what God can and will do. It may not be what I would choose, but at 52 I’ve learned if I wait and trust I will see the good in what happened and had I resisted it – I would have missed the best.
    But things have been difficult lately. People I love are facing challenging times. I am optimistic, but I feel sad. I can rest in the fact that this is okay.

  6. avatar Amanda says:

    This is a great post!

    I agree.

    “You’re gonna slip, you may even fall. As long as you get back up, you can get right back into the groove. ”

    This is what I try to remind myself if I’m having an off day, week or month!! Just keeping these kinds of thoughts helps keep me optimistic in the most roughest patch.

  7. avatar Mike Shippey says:

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Julie and Debi – I’m so glad that the message was timely for you. That’s always such a great feeling to know that the words are making a difference.

    Nicole – I couldn’t possible agree more. Faking it does so much damage and on multiple levels. You’re right that it perpetuates self doubt and starts a nasty spiral affect!

    Amanda – yes, it’s great to remember. I’ve had one of those days, one of those weeks, and one of those months before…and that’s okay, because I’m still moving forward!

    All the best

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