Way #23: Cultivate Your Secret Weapon
Astonishingly, one of the most powerful things you can to do to change the world is to actively nurture your own optimism.
Futurist Alex Steffen asserts, “Optimism is a political act. Those who benefit from the status quo are perfectly happy for us to think nothing is going to get any better. In fact, these days, cynicism is obedience.”
Why Do This Way?
When it comes to creating a thriving, just, and sustainable world, believing that a better future is possible can be revolutionary. Every day, sometimes many times a day, we hear news about the political and social tumult confronting us. It’s hard to know how to react, how to engage, and it can be easy to fall into cynicism, believing that the problems are too big, that nothing we do can make a difference. And that’s where optimism comes in.
Study after study has shown the correlation between optimism and success in reaching goals. Whether in health, career, or activism, optimism and the confidence it engenders lead to the emotional resilience to recover from setbacks, enabling the perseverance required to reach long term goals. You can have a realistic assessment of the challenges ahead, but it’s this combination of optimism, confidence, and resilience that creates hope and engagement so that we can stay engaged for the long haul. And reversing global warming is the ultimate domain in which grounded optimism is needed.
No matter the political climate, change has always been made by people who believed in the possibility of something different. We can take our cue from Nelson Mandela who said, “I approach every problem with optimism.”
Educate yourself on the issues, look them square in the eye, believe in our ultimate success, and get to work. Your optimism will light your way and inspire others. It is the ultimate political act.
Engaging with This Way
In this inspiring video, Pachamama Alliance co-founder and public speaker Lynne Twist offers an empowering explanation about how to be groundedly optimistic in these times.
Cultivating optimism is a daily practice. Here are five things you can do every day to boost your optimism.
- Be mindful
- Notice the positive
- Visualize the best possible future for yourself and the world
- Write a daily gratitude list
- Get a little exercise
If you’re looking for more inspiration in your quest to be (groundedly) optimistic, enjoy this Pachamama Alliance video about five major trends that inspire optimism for the future:
And finally, here is how Project Drawdown founder Paul Hawken stays optimistic:
Share how you stay optimistic in the comments below.