ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Optimism and Thoughtlessness Are Not Synonyms

Updated on October 4, 2018
jessicajlockhart profile image

Jessica J. Lockhart is an author, a humanologist and the creator of Humanology, Optimism Coaching® and Personal Essence® among other tools.

Optimism can be recovered and relearned

Ask people what optimism means and you will get a complete array of answers. From the 'glass half full' to 'seeing life through rose-tinted glasses,' or 'hopefulness about the future.' Optimism is one of those abstract and hard-to-define words that everybody thinks they understand. But what does it really mean?

These last few years, optimism has become a field of growing interest among experts, scientists and professionals. Authors like Professor Seligman and his 'relearned optimism' or the many studies proving the relationship between optimism and better health (like those by Julia Boehm and Laura Kubzansky, for example) indicate the level of interest there is for this topic. Many attempts have been made to clearly define this concept, but still different cultures and different fields of study explain it somehow differently, as culture also shapes the way in which the term is understood and interpreted.

Human beings are born optimists

When babies are born, they are always optimists. They expect the world to feed and care for them and for years wake up in the mornings believing that the new day will bring them happiness, adventure and fun. They face each moment like there is no other and enjoy it completely. A child plays and there's nothing else in the world but that game. The child will play the same game many times, and will not give up on it but persevere in the fun without questioning what comes next. Unless something deeply negative happens to alter that worldview, children remain deeply optimistic for quite a few of their first years, until their adults begin to chastise them for it and demand that they 'be more realistic,' or 'get their heads out of the clouds.'

Those same human beings then gradually start losing part of their optimism as life throws hurdles and problems at them and others recommend a less hopeful view on reality. They will start believing what others tell them and adapting their beliefs to their environment. Little by little, their natural optimism will dwindle and be replaced by a more somber worldview.

Lower levels of optimism result in poorer health and shorter life spans

Many of the studies carried out around the world have consistently proven that optimists live longer, happier and more rewarding lives. They've also been proven to be more resourceful and creative. There is an easy explanation to those results.

When pessimists face obstacles, they already believe that chances are they will fail, that things always go wrong, that they will not succeed. By the time they actually need to make the effort, they are so convinced of their failure that a) their effort is not absolute and b) they subconsciously sabotage themselves. As soon as they fail, then, they immediately tell themselves something like, 'see, I knew it was impossible.' That new failure thus reaffirms them once more.

Optimists, on the other hand, face obstacles believing that there always is a way to overcome them. They try to solve the situation one way. They might fail but that doesn't discourage them. They try another method and then another until they finally manage to overcome the problem and find a solution. They study their obstacles and ponder the different approaches to solving them. In their mind, there is no room for failure because they 'know' that they will succeed. Optimists never give up because they are convinced that there always is a way. By never giving up, then, optimists become more and more creative and start accumulating a great range of resources that make it easier to succeed at each attempt. That faith thus, results in them doing much more than pessimists and logically getting better results at the end.

All human beings are found somewhere between the two ends of this optimism-pessimism spectrum. Realism is just a way of describing those who are more in the middle of it. Realists, thus, have less resources than optimists but also fail less than pessimists.

Optimism is not thoughtlessness

Optimism, as just shown, is not just a matter of hope and expectations, but the conviction that good things will happen through a constant search for solutions. The true optimist is a hard-working, resourceful person who devotes a lot of energy and effort to reaching whatever goals are to be reached. A thoughtless person is not a true optimist because pursuing a goal without a plan barely ever leads to reaching it and optimists never give up. If one of the attempts to reach a goal is somehow thoughtless, it will likely fail, in which case the true optimist will think it over and formulate a new alternative, thus becoming the opposite of thoughtless. Thoughtlessness and optimism are therefore mutually exclusive in the longer run.

Optimism yields better results

As a result of the optimist's natural faith and hard-working habits, optimists become much better assets for companies and in general life. They push and drive, inspire and persevere. By not giving up, optimists become natural leaders and motivators.

Optimists rarely suffer from stress or burnout, either, as they don't worry but act. Stress and burnout stem from worry, from rumination and from fear, three attitudes that optimists naturally avoid by their own lookout on life. Consequently, optimists are less often sick or tense and end up developing a greater capacity to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.

Optimism can be recovered and relearned

As human beings grow up and live, society tries to instil a more sober view of life onto them as children and young people, thus slowly draining optimism from them. Without optimism, energy is low, motivation scarce and drive non-existent. That lack of optimism results in extreme personal and professional costs for families, companies and society as a whole. Fortunately, optimism can be relearned and developed. Like everything else in life, there isn't one formula-fits-all method for every human being. Optimism can be killed many different ways, and should therefore be reacquired by applying the right tools and methods, adapted to each person's needs and personal learning strategies.

Underlying subconscious beliefs can lead certain people to adopting a more pessimistic attitude in life. Fear is another trigger, as are pain, guilt or worry. A lot of professionals offer specific stress and burnout solutions to clients and patients but neglect to tackle the underlying problems that caused the original drain of energy and optimism. Only by solving and changing those will the human being truly recover that natural optimism that we are all born with.

If you wish to recover your drive, your motivation, your energy or if you want to help your team or your family to do the same, remember that each human being might have different reasons to feel the way they do and that specific tools and methods might be needed for each of them. Ask the professional you work with to present you with a detailed, personal plan for each person. If they fail to do that, look for a professional who does. Human beings are not robots and their complexity sometimes requires complex solutions. Those exist and can be used, believe me.

Enjoy life... ALL of it,

Jessica J. Lockhart is a humanologist, bestselling author and renowned international speaker especializad in understanding human being

© 2018 Jessica J Lockhart

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)