January 20, 2009
These three words, “yes we can,” became the manta for Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaign. Whether you voted for, support, or agree with President Obama or not, these three words are powerful and important for each of us in our lives, especially in the face of the challenges that many of us are facing these days.
When we believe in ourselves in an authentic way, we allow ourselves to trust that we can do whatever it is we desire and that no matter what our current circumstance may be, we always have the power within us to overcome, accomplish, or manifest anything. As Henry Ford famously stated, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
Being optimistic is and always will be a personal choice. And, it’s not always the easiest choice to make. Some of us are more predisposed to be negative, while others of us are more predisposed to be positive – based on a variety of factors (personality, beliefs, family background, environment, focus, and much more). However, all of us can practice and enhance our ability to be optimistic in our daily lives. It’s both a choice and a skill.
Being hopeful and positive doesn’t mean we avoid the challenges of our lives or pretend that there aren’t problems around us, it’s that we choose to focus on the good stuff, find what’s working, and trust that things will work out. This does take a certain amount of faith and it challenges us to let go of our need to control, explain, and understand everything at all times.
Here are a few simple things you can do to enhance your own ability to be optimistic in life:
- Tell the truth – Admit to yourself and to others your own fear, worry, and negativity. While we don’t want to complain or dwell on things in a detrimental way, so often we deny or avoid our true negativity or pessimism, which keeps it stuck. When we admit it and own it, we have a chance to move through it and to let it go consciously.
- Practice looking for the good stuff – This is an art and a skill that we can practice all the time. It can be challenging to find the good stuff in the midst of adversity, but that is the most important time to do it and the most valuable way to practice. The more you do it the easier it gets. This is all about us giving up our desire, need, and right to be a victim in life!
- Surround yourself with authentically optimistic people – Choose to be around people who are genuinely positive and hopeful. This doesn’t mean that they’re happy all the time or always super upbeat (although they often will be, most likely). Seek out people who choose to appreciate life and to focus on what’s working. Doing this will not only be more fun and empowering for you, but it will also support you in your desire to be more optimistic in your own life.
Optimism is essential to our happiness, fulfillment, and our ability to overcome and persevere in life. It takes courage, boldness, and trust – things that as we all know are important, but not always easy in life. As you look at your own work, relationships, and life in general, where can you say “Yes I can?” and allow that statement to empower you in an optimistic way? The more we say “yes” to ourselves and to life, the more life and others say “yes” back to us.
I say to you, me, and everyone around us – YES WE CAN!
How will you enhance your ability to be optimistic in life?