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Why optimists are likely to succeed

brunch Updated: Mar 31, 2012 20:20 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Successful people are always objects of research, and for very good reason. That is because determining what makes people successful is a very exciting discipline. A lot has been said on this matter, but I will bring out some of the more interesting points.

Emotional state and attitude

When we feel good, we usually end up giving a task our best. What we experience during this state is called ‘flow’, and in states of flow, we become high performers. Yet it is hard to feel good all the time, which is why we end up having a range of emotions, from misery, anxiety and restlessness to irritation, anger or frustration. All these states do not lead us to good outputs.

Our emotional states have an impact on the kind of energies and people we attract. It is well known that ‘birds of a feather flock together’. So if we are feeling frustrated and experience negative feelings, we will choose to be around people who have synergy with our emotions, and together create more of the same negative emotions.

Optimism is one of the powerful emotions that can turn things around. Looking at the best option in the worst of situations is like finding a log of wood to hang on to when drowning in a sea of hopelessness. Sometimes, we simply let ourselves drown in a flood of negative emotions, and like a whirlpool we are sucked deeper and deeper into self-pity and other negative emotions. The result is that we make wrong choices, which pull us further down.

Looking at the glass half full is not escaping reality or living in a fool’s paradise. It is looking at how best a situation can be salvaged. Optimism can be followed by positive action because only an optimistic state of mind can make the correct choices.

Action and Dynamism
Most people imagine that successful people are just plain lucky.

Contrary to this thought, successful people are not luckier but they are the people who continue working, both in good times and also in testing ones. Many people have talent, which means they can do some things very well with less effort as compared to others. But amongst all these talented people, the ones who emerge successful in the long run are the ones who keep working and polishing their talents.

Interestingly, even people who do not look particularly talented end up being successful because they have tremendous determination to keep going. When we consult astrologers, we usually ask them when the good times will come. But the truth is that the foundation of success is laid out not during good times, but during tough periods. In good times, only the fruits are more visible.

Therefore, optimism + dynamism = a potent recipe for long-term success.
In the next column we will share some more research on certain behaviours that lead to success.
(To be continued)

From HT Brunch, April 1

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