Why be an optimist

October 30, 2021by Editorial Team

Adopt the strategy for life that spins happiness and success; but weigh out the options well.

It is said- pessimism is destructive, realism lacks imagination, and optimism opens all the doors. Pessimism, realism and optimism are just not academic philosophies, they are actually strategies for life, and we should  choose where we wish to belong 

Optimists are more open towards possibilities. They believe in hard work to make things actually happen. Even if they ended up without success , they won’t feel disappointed and stop, they will try and learn new things from the failure. Nearly all of the world leaders, influencers were optimistic. Their positivity resonated around their surroundings and made them to the top. Paulo Coelho says in his book ‘The Alchemist’-   “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”

How optimists think and work

An optimist’s mind is set to work on a definite trajectory. He needs to focus on solutions and not  problems, but he should first recognize that the problem exists before finding a way to deal it. Without worrying about the future and living in the present, he works with a positive mind and determination towards the solution.  However, sometimes one also needs to cut his losses and move on, accepting  that one may not always get it right.

We have  innumerable instances where the power of optimism has made people overcome all odds of life and succeed.
It was back in 2014 when both of Elon Musk’s companies were bankrupt. Test flights of his rockets failed and all, including NASA had predicted his failure. However without looking back, he worked through all day and night before giving it a last shot. Finally his test flight was a success; his optimism and determination had paid off.

Walt Disney, creator of one of the world’s most popular characters, Mickey Mouse, had been told by his newspaper editor that he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. Thankfully he did not pay heed to it, so today we have Mickey Mouse enthralling us for over 93 years.

Anne Frank had documented in The Diary of Anne Frank when she was all of 13 years, the atrocities that she and her family faced while in hiding for two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. . She wrote ,“If we begin thinking of all the horrors in the world we are lost”. speculating that optimism was essential for surviving such horrors.

Muniba Mazari Baloch from Pakistan had met with a severe accident at the age of 21 years. Sustaining several injuries including her spine, she was declared bedridden for life. Though shattered and devastated, she decided to fight her fears. Her strength and optimism helped her to the wheel chair and moved on to become a motivational speaker, social activist, anchor artist, model, singer. She says “Don’t die before your death.”

The workings of the mind

Interestingly, studies have shown that 50 percent of our optimism is inherited genetically, 40 percent of it is determined by ourselves, which we can work on to change our levels of optimism; and 10 percent is determined by those around us. Shelley E Taylor,a member of National Academy of Sciences from University of California, Los Angeles emphasizes that genes predict behavior, though they do not determine it.

There are four hormones present in our brains. Known as ‘happiness hormones’, they are Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphin, commonly known by the acronym DOSE. We can boost these hormones through certain lifestyle changes, such as eating more proteins, getting adequate sleep, exposing ourselves to sunlight. Tyrosine and phenylalanine are amino acids essential for formation of dopamine. Both these are naturally found in protein rich foods like turkey, beef, eggs and soya. Further, there is also a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD] in which people feel depressed during winter when they are not exposed to sunlight.


So what is your choice?

So the final choice lies with us- the choice to be pessimist, a healthy optimist,  or an unhealthy optimist. With the right practice we should be able to recognize the negatives in any given conflict and find the positive solution. Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create”. Quoting Larry Elder, “Optimism, after all, is not just a mind-set, it’s a behavior.”

About the authors

The article has been contributed by the following students and teachers from Don Bosco High School, Puthuppally: Aleena Judy, Josh Joji, Melby Philip, Richa Reji ( students), Mrs Ivy Thomas and Mrs Shashi Alexander ( teachers).

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