Optimism is powerful. To harness it, develop these 12 characteristics:

-Expect trouble. See yourself as a realistic problem solver, explore options, and seek the good in bad situations.

-Look for partial solutions, and work to solve manageable portions of problems. Recognize your efforts will not be perfect. Risk working on what is possible, and leave the impossible to God.

-Believe you control your future. Dismiss feelings of helplessness. Realize early that your efforts can overcome adversity and negative predictions.

-Allow for regular renewal. Spend time with hopeful people, intellectually stimulating material, young children, things or people that refresh your spirit, and new friends. Follow the biblical ideal of a day or times of rest.

-Derail your negative thought trains. Monitor appraisals and expectations that lead you to doubt yourself. Find the origins of these thoughts, and correct the distortions.

-Heighten your appreciation. Learn to be grateful and to say thank you often. Focus on what you have, especially successes, and savor what you can.

-Imagine success scenarios. Picture the best happening before you begin. Refuse to worry. Be hopeful and visionary about the future.

-Be cheerful if you can’t be happy. Laugh often, celebrate even during hard times, and stay healthy.

-See your capacity for stretching as virtually unlimited. Your personal best is yet to come, and troubles are opportunities for conditioning. Always learn, despite your age.

-Build lots of love into your life. Value affection. Nurture long-term relationships. Spend time serving others. deal effectively and quickly with hostility, anger, and other negative emotion. forgive others and yourself frequently.

-Share good news. Take the time to encourage and relate to others. Evaluate your successes so you can repeat them. Avoid complaining, and don’t stay depressed. Remember the good times.

-Accept what you cannot change. Keep trying to do your best, but know when to cut your losses. Realize you cannot change the world all at once. Be flexible, and remember you can change any situation by changing your attitude.

From Servant Life Volume 1 Number 1, by Alan Loy McGinnis.


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