Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore?
“The Past is a History,
Tomorrow is a Mystery,
Enjoy the Present!”
Reading this, what was your reaction? Felt your spirits lifted up or did you comment something mean? The first or second reaction tells clearly whether you are an optimist or a pessimist! Call yourself the Tigger if it was the first reaction or the Eeyore if it was the second. Both these are characters from the spectacular Winnie-the-Pooh books that we all enjoyed reading as kids. The Tigger is always over-enthused, energetic and optimistic while the Eeyore is pessimistic, grumpy, moody and sad. There has always been the story of two prisoners who looked at life from two different perspectives that decided their quality of life and every day in life we hear about being positive, looking at the brighter side of things and staying confident in life despite obstructions, turmoil and hindrances. Optimism according to Mayo Clinic is defined as the “belief that good things will happen to you and that negative events are temporary setbacks to be overcome.” Some characteristics are inborn and others develop over time as a result of circumstances, experiences and surrounding. Here I would like to share the story of one of my friends who was burdened with economic losses repeatedly. He lost few of his lands, was cheated over his hard-earned money by his own brother and was pushed to stress and tension with two little daughters who were just in their early childhood years. Generally, most people cannot take in such high stress levels and succumb to unwanted habits such as drinking alcohol, betting money or even quitting job wrecked over life’s repeated challenges. But this fellow did not budge. He kept continuing his job in much higher spirits, took his wife and kids out every week keeping them out of all the negativity and started saving money like a sparrow once again from the beginning to start his next phase in life. There were times during which he did feel low, stressed and pissed in life but he did overcome all these with one of his traits-optimism! That’s the power of staying positive and leading life. He could have tried to commit suicide or lose hope and stay home skipping job, skipping family and skipping a normal life altogether. But never once did he get into those.
Optimist: The Winning Horse who Reaches the Finish Line
While an optimist sees challenges as temporary and as stepping stones that leads to better solutions pessimists see challenges as permanent that makes it impossible for them to move forward in life. The best of the lot is the incurable optimist who sees a goodness in everything bad, keeps working tirelessly believing that there is good at the end of the road and always pushes forward in life (https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2013/08/05/success-follows-the-incurable-optimist/#2f1d70987a04). Such optimistic people are good to hang around with, more fun to be with, healthier, happier, attractive and enthused which makes everyone want to be around them. Business-wise too incurable optimism and integrity are great traits for those seeking funding or wishing to become entrepreneurs. No one would like to invest in someone who has a negative outlook in life, whines most of the time and sees every challenge as a roadblock that has no course further away. But there are chances of some people overstepping from optimism into over-confidence which ruins it all for them as well as the employer/investor. It’s only an optimist with integrity who is loved by all employers as he/she stays focused and positive without over-promising, can be 100% trusted and are also fun to be around.
Chronic stress is prevalent among all in this world and we do have results showing that victory surely favors the optimist when under chronic stress at work. In a survey, 75% respondents commented that they were more stressed than the previous generation and 40% placed themselves on the high end of the stress spectrum. Studies also confirmed that optimists were likelier to make better investments, smarter moves and reap greater benefits. Opportunities for promotions are better and chances of making money are more for optimists. But again, all’s not charming and glittering for them. One study found that while most of the successful business entrepreneurs called themselves as optimists, optimistic entrepreneurs earn 30% less than pessimistic ones on an average which might be because they are inclined to take greater risks and suffer from huge losses as a result. But the downsides are comparably negligible when measured to the benefits of being optimistic in life.
Staying positive also decides how fast individuals recover from adversity and stay resilient. Resilient individuals have the attribute to change negative feelings into positive ones. They foresee challenges as an opportunity to grow rather than as a threat that would end their growth. These individuals might face the same emotional turmoil and anxiety as non-resilient people but the difference is that resilient individuals display personalities of happiness and eagerness to fix the problem as they strongly believe that every problem doesn’t come without a solution.
The Hush-hush Secret to a Longer Life
Research studies have previously reported the benefits of staying optimistic that includes lower risk of health conditions and premature death. The latest good news is that positive people are also at a higher chance of living a longer life. This is the combined result of two long-term studies, one including 69,744 women and another one including 1429 men over 3 decades. All of them completed a questionnaire that dealt with their feelings about the future and after controlling various parameters results showed that optimistic women lived 14.9% longer on an average (highest was 25% longer) than their pessimistic counterparts. In the case of men, positive men lived 10.9% longer than their peers. Also, optimistic women were 1.5 times more likely to reach 85 years old than the least optimistic women while optimistic men were 1.7 times more likely to reach 85 years. It’s mostly because optimistic people are likelier to exercise, eat healthy food and avoid smoking and drinking. They also handle stress in a better way and look at the bigger picture than brooding over smaller ones. Stress is a critical factor in today’s world affecting both the mental and physical health of a person. Knowing to handle stress in the correct ways and keeping your mind at peace makes a great difference to both your mind and body as well.
Research also shows optimists sleep better and are less likely to suffer from sleep-related problems such as insomnia. Poor sleep is linked to multiple health problems such as obesity, hypertension and even mortality. Positive-minded people don’t keep brooding over their losses and neither do they stay sleepless because of that. Sleep is also critical for a longer life as it helps in keeping both the mind and body healthy.
I hope that reading through this article has lifted your spirits and also has made you look at life in a positive frame of mind. We are not going to reap any benefits brooding over our losses. All that we can do is look forward to a better tomorrow by striving hard today.
The Financial Upside of Being an Optimist: https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-financial-upside-of-being-an-optimist
The Benefits of Optimist are Real: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/03/the-benefits-of-optimism-are-real/273306/
Cheer Up! Optimists Live Longer: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/08/cheer-optimists-live-longer
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