I consider myself an optimist.
I always think things have a good chance of turning out great.
Things don’t always, or even usually, turn out as I may have imagined they would. But I almost always count myself successful. Why? Because experience is priceless. Experience is the stuff life is made of and honestly, it’s the only real way we learn things. If I am gaining experience, I am living life, learning skills and making memories.
“That’s not real success!” you might protest, “you’re just playing with words”. Look, in some respects you might have a point, and everyone has their own perspective on things – which is exactly my point!
My perspective is that
- While there is life, there is hope
- Where there are struggles, they will usually pass
- Where there is failure, there are lessons learned and strength to be gained
One of my favourite mental health disciplines / methods is CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy). I’m no psychologist or expert on the topic, but I love the positive and optimistic discipline CBT can instil in one’s mind. If you tried something new – let’s say computer programming, and weren’t great at it first go, a negative mindset might say “I tried to write the program. It didn’t work. I failed. I’m not cut out for this.”
CBT encourages new thought patterns more like this: “I tried to write the program. It didn’t work. And that’s OK. I learned one way it doesn’t work, and I’m going to keep going and learning until I get it right”.
The first self-talk is limiting, and self-belittling. It closes off the door to further growth in that area and plants negativity in your subconscious, weakening your resilience.
The second self-talk is positive, self-encouraging, reflecting positively on the experience and leaving the door open to further growth.
If you adopt the second attitude, I can pretty much promise you that two things will happen:
- You will encounter the doubters and naysayers who will try to pull you down and probably call you a dreamer, and
- You will grow and provide yourself with opportunities, experiences and positivity which is infectious, and which builds your resilience “muscles” so you can go on and try ever more interesting and challenging things.
So how do I (almost) always succeed? By
- taking every opportunity I can
- making the most of it
- being grateful for the experience whatever the outcome, because experience is the stuff life is made of.