What’s discussed around the water cooler these days can be depressing. At the Santa Ana/Orange County workplace, there are daily and ongoing conversations about the economic downturn, abuse of power, unemployment, gas prices, global warming, wars around the world, water shortages, terrorism, failing health care system and environmental mishaps.
But wait! With optimism, there is hope. Being optimistic does not deny the reality of today’s world, but rather allows us to live our lives amid such difficulties. The good news is that optimism can be taught. So stop being depressed. Instead, learn to be optimistic and share your optimism with your co-workers by following these basic steps:
1. Focus on what you can control. Don’t get carried away by circumstances you cannot change. You might not change the state’s water shortage, but you can control your water usage. You may not be able to control what a gossiper says about you, but you have the power to choose your friends and you can control the company you keep.
2. Don’t be a victim. The flight cancellation that caused you to miss a major meeting was not planned to “get” you. Refuse to be a victim and figure out what you can do to get another flight. Don’t play the blame game about your big presentation being in jeopardy because someone forgot to bring a projector. You’re well prepared so show your confidence and knowledge and give the presentation without the visuals.
3. Appreciate the things you have. When you concentrate on what you don’t have, you miss all the many things you do have. The truth of the matter is that you do have enough, especially living in Orange County and the Santa Ana area. It might not be as much as you would like, but it is enough.
4. Cultivate optimistic responses. Optimism will never grow unless it is watered, fed, weeded and nurtured. We all have days in which negativity can take over, and sometimes, negativity keeps us grounded in reality. Just make sure it is reality and not the imagination making extraordinary leaps into conjecture.
5. The power of generations. Children of depressed parents are more prone to depression. Children of optimists are more prone to be optimists. What do you choose to pass along to you children?
6. Refuse to watch or read anything that puts you in a negative mood. Instead of watching the evening news or watching a depressing movie, read a book that will transport you to another time and will put you in a better mood. Go play with the baby next door, take a walk with your dog, dig in the yard, call a good friend or get a bucket of balls and practice your golf swing.
7. Don’t participate in harmful and idle gossip. We all know of certain individuals that relish speaking ill of someone, and most of the time it’s just idle gossip, half-truths or triggered by something as simple as jealousy. Whatever the case, refuse to participate in a chorus of negative conversations and take the courage by walking away from the whining, complaining and moaning individuals.
8. Practice saying “This too shall pass.” It always has and it always will.
Optimism can be contagious and you have the power to infect those around you. Most importantly, your infectious enthusiasm and genuine smile will attract others to you because they enjoy your company.