Twixt the optimist and pessimist
The difference is droll
The optimist sees the doughnut
But the pessimist sees the hole.
– McLandburgh Wilson
Greetings from LA and Oahu!
This week we’re discussing why optimism is good for your health (literally), arguing that it’s okay to remain uninformed (as long as you admit it), and sharing Peter Sage’s secret to breaking through your personal glass ceiling of growth.
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It’s good be an optimist.
As we’ve discussed in past emails, optimism is a key ingredient for success.
But it’s also a key ingredient for living a long and healthy life.
According to Harvard Health…
“Optimism helps people cope with disease and recover from surgery. Even more impressive is the impact of a positive outlook on overall health and longevity. Research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years.”
But how do they define “optimism”?
In testing research participants, there are two parts: dispositional optimism (“depends on positive expectations for one’s future.”) and explanatory optimism (“based on how a person explains good or bad news.”).
“The optimist… does not assume blame for negative events. Instead, he tends to give himself credit for good news, assume good things will last, and be confident that positive developments will spill over into many areas of his life.”
What are the health benefits of being more optimistic?
- Improves recover from cardiac surgery and reduces the risk of heart attacks.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease.
- And lots of other stuff: “Over a 30-year period, optimism was linked to a better outcome on eight measures of physical and mental function and health.”
But maybe you’re a natural pessimist (or “realist” as you might like to call it)… how can you change to become a bit more optimistic?
Here are some ideas…
- Practice being grateful
- Journal every day
- Do yoga
- Assume the best
Everyone has an opinion… about pretty much everything.
And claiming that you don’t have an opinion or that you’re uninformed on a certain topic might make it seem like you’re not being a responsible citizen.
But that’s not true.
In fact, that line of thinking is harmful to society. It makes uninformed people feel like they must have strong opinions on everything. It makes voting seem mandatory… even if people don’t know what they’re voting about.
None of us can know everything that’s going on in the world all the time.
And why should we have to?
Wouldn’t it be better to admit what you don’t know? To say you don’t have an opinion when you don’t have the necessary information? To only argue a point or vote a certain way when you’ve done your due diligence?
If something is important enough to you, then research it and create an opinion.
If not, then simply remain uninformed and admit what you don’t know — choose to not have an opinion on the topic.
Both options are honest and full of integrity.
Your Glass Ceiling
In Peter Sage’s inspiring TED Talk, How To Eliminate Self Doubt Forever & The Power of Your Unconscious Mind, he starts by asking the following questions…
Why is it that intelligent people procrastinate? Why is it that people that are so self motivated often self-sabotage? And why is it that no matter how many new business opportunities we get or new skills we try to learn, many of us just are simply finding different ways of earning the same amount of money or achieving the same level of success, as if there was a glass ceiling above our head that we were trying to break through but didn’t know how?
His answer is summed up well in what he refers to as “the undisputed first law of personal growth”: people will never rise above their opinion of themselves.
But how do we improve our opinion of ourselves so that we can grow?
By changing our environment — “environment trumps will,” he says.
- Stop putting the wrong things in — What friends are tearing you down? What media is making you depressed? Remove it.
- Start putting the right things in — We all have tons of access to amazing resources and wisdom. Find books and podcasts that inspire and motivate you. Add them into your daily routine.
- Get the things that shouldn’t be in there out — Get help if you need help. Changing deeply engrained patters is difficult and there’s nothing wrong with seeking counseling, therapy, or help groups.
Check out the full TED Talk here — it’s well worth 18 minutes of your time.
Here is some other random stuff we found interesting this last week!
- GILBERT HIGHET, THE FIRST CELEBRITY CLASSICIST by Robert J. Ball
- Speaking of Memory by Agnes Heller
- What the Vai Script Reveals About the Evolution of Writing by Piers Kelly
Books We’re Reading
Here’s what the tribe is currently reading (let us know books you’re loving and we’ll include them in future emails!)….
- Into The Wild — “Krakauer’s page-turning bestseller explores a famed missing person mystery while unraveling the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.”
- Never Split The Difference — “A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations―whether in the boardroom or at home.”
- Field Notes From a Catastrophe — “Kolbert cuts through the competing rhetoric and political agendas to elucidate for Americans what is really going on with the global environment and asks what, if anything, can be done to save our planet.”
This Week’s Photo
“Zoe Grospiron of France competes in the 2022 Sydney Surf Pro World Longboard Tour at Manly Beach in Manly, Australia, on May 17, 2022.” via The Atlantic
This Week’s Riddle
Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!
What kind of coat is always wet when you put it on?
This Week’s Question
Answer this question — either privately or by replying to this email. If your answer inspires us, then we’ll ask for permission to include it in a future email!
Why is optimism critical for living a healthier, happier life?
This Week’s Challenge
Consider how being more optimistic would make you healthier and happier. Then set aside some time every day this week (even just five minutes) to write down what you’re grateful for. The easiest way to become more optimistic… is to remember the things in your life that bring you joy.
Until next week,
Mike & Alec
Riddle Answer: A coat of paint.