The Power Behind Optimism
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The Power Behind Optimism

The moral of the story is to not take the training wheels off of your bike until you're 100% certain you know how the brakes work.

The Power Behind Optimism
Jaden O'Berry

Picture this: you flunked a test in chemistry. Your mom won't get off your case about a bowl you left in the sink instead of "putting it in the dishwasher, young lady!" Your best friend and you get into a fight about who gets to go with the cute new exchange student to prom, when in reality neither of you have even talked to him. At lunch, you spilled your chocolate milk all over your white pants, making you bare a large, smelly, brown stain on your thighs for the rest of the day.

Yeah, it's official, your day was horrible and you're left to sink into a pit of angst and self-deprecation.

But wait a second! A positive mindset is very important. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, super cheesy and cliche. However, research has proved that having a positive attitude can not only increase your chances of staying healthy, but it can help you with overcoming challenges, and achieving your goals!

What is this magic mindset? It is called optimism, and its effects are real.

Winston Churchill once claimed that "a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; where an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Optimism comes from the Latin word optimus, meaning "best," which describes how an optimistic person is always looking for the best in any situation and expecting good things to happen. Optimism is the tendency to believe, expect, or hope that things will turn out well. Even if something bad happens, like the loss of a job, an optimist sees the silver lining.

When I was a kid, I was irritatingly eager to learn how to ride a bike. Everyday after I came home from school, I would beg my dad to teach me. And everyday he said the same thing, "when you're old enough."

I was 10 when he finally decided to teach me. He drove my twin sister and I to our elementary school parking lot and grabbed our very pink, very sparkly bikes. And finally, finally he took off the (you guessed it) pink training wheels that were so noisy it became permanently indented in my brain.

After awhile I quickly became frustrated. I couldn't figure out how the pedals worked, or how to wear my helmet, but my dad stayed optimistic. He told me to "keep trying, and keep going."

So I did. And after an admittedly dreadful few tries, and a "me-sized dent" in the schools gardening shed, I did it.

I put my hands on the handlebars and took off like a lightening bolt. My dad cheered and my sister rubbed her arm from where we previously ran into each other, but she was smiling too, I promise.

Optimism gives us reasons to keep going and complete what we started. "Crossing the finish line," if you will.

Without it, I firmly believe our world wouldn't be as good or as successful as it is now.

There are two types of optimism; blind and realistic. Blind optimism is self-deception. People who demand a sunny outlook, even when confronted with plenty of legitimate reasons to worry, are essentially encouraging others not to be intellectually honest.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, however, are realistic optimists. Those who combine the positive outlook of optimists with the clear-eyed perspective of pessimists. These realistic optimists get the best of both worlds, using their realism to perform better in school or work, but aren't getting weighed down by unhappiness and discomfort.

Realistic optimists strongly believe that they can make things happen and that they will succeed. They have no doubt about it. Saying that, on the other hand, they perfectly know that in order of being successful they have to plan well, to access all necessary resources, to stay focused and persistent, to evaluate different options, and to execute in excellence.

This is the ideal mindset for optimism!

Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. There has been evidence that positive thinking can increase your lifespan, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, increase resistance to the common cold, create a better psychological and physical well-being, increase cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and even form better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.

Positive people develop a mental capacity that allows them to adapt with ease during challenges or difficulties.

Sure. I ran into a tool shed with my bike, and left a dent that is still there today. However, without my determination and optimism, I most likely wouldn't have learned to ride, and quit on the spot.

Resiliency begins with adaptability, acceptance, and gratitude. Success and happiness doesn't always come from hurrying to get there, rather from having the faith, courage and 'go with it' type of attitude to cope with the harsh realities of life.

Above all, positive and optimistic people lead themselves by constantly finding encouragement. They surround themselves with other positive people, and inspire others despite their own struggles or misfortunes.

In the end, the more you give out positively, the more you get back.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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