Apr 292017
 
Be a Beacon of Light in a Darkening World

We have lived through a truly divisive decade and election. In just the last few months, Trump pulled off a shocker win, the Brits decided to bail out of the European Union, and the war on terror continues with senseless killings everywhere that have numbed people emotionally: a headline that dozens of innocent citizens have been slaughtered doesn’t disturb the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  A common theme through it all is that we should not help people that [more…]

Apr 182017
 
It is Never About Wishful Thinking

All of us daydream with a hopeful attitude from time to time. We imagine ourselves in a different state of life, often fueled by what we see on TV and in print. Optimism is crucial — you have to believe you can — but it is important to remember to get started before all the lights turn green, be committed to your pursuit with great focus and energy, and finish no matter what for there are no credits, no rewards, no [more…]

Mar 162017
 
Why Not Me!

Too often, we think that those who achieve something really special were born with huge advantages. Yet, if you read stories about the most successful people, the common denominator is not birthright but rather optimism, a tendency to take initiative and action without over analyzing a situation, a confidence that overrides the voices of “realists” and “pessimists” that are ever present, a willingness to take a chance when the odds looks favorable, and a belief that failures are simply little [more…]

Mar 062017
 
Making Life Too Hard?

Worrying about stuff that might or might not happen seems to have risen exponentially as we have become more interconnected. Facebook and the rest makes us feel like we are not succeeding fast enough or big enough when compared to all those people we personally know. Kids born today seem set up from birth to worry more than any previous generation. Since I believe we are the architects of our own mental psyche, I believe we can train ourselves to [more…]

Mar 052017
 
Classic Zig

Remember that failure is an event, not a person.           — Zig Ziglar Far too often, people call each other — or themselves — a failure. The truth is that a failure is moment in time, the temporary result that happens when you try a certain recipe to accomplish something. Failures happen for many reasons, but the wise optimist learns from the experience and fails forward. Always remember that failure is a result of a certain confluence [more…]

Feb 242017
 
Your Resume is Only 33%

America, God bless her, is all about capitalism, competition, and a definition of success that often leaves the successful, at least the financially successful, wondering if this is all that there is. America’s scorecard is too often the resume version, the version that focuses on winning “the game”, conquering, accomplishment in the here and now, and financial windfalls. It is not surprising that happiness is elusive, and is just as elusive to those who have landed the outsized windfalls as to [more…]

Feb 152017
 
Youthful Spark

Most people get old long before their bodies really give out. I’ve met 35 year olds that act like they are 70, and vice-versa. Your mental perspective matters. Getting old, in some very important ways, is a subtle series of small choices – and those choices are more important than the inexorable realities of biological aging. Here is my simple 6 step test for true aging and recipe to stay younger longer. If you want to stay young longer (or become [more…]

Jan 132017
 
Optimizing Time: System Checklist

Few disagree that time is one of our most precious and fleeting resources. Yet, when I ask, I find that few people manage and more importantly optimize their time by using a better-than-average system. It is hard to be a great carpenter if you don’t use good tools and techniques. First, time management is a strange phrase: we really can’t manage time, as it flows by no matter what we do. What we can do is decide how we use [more…]

Jan 042017
 
My Gift to All for the 2016 Holidays -- a Brilliant Free App

My gift to you for the holidays is a free app recommendation — and just in case anyone is wondering, I am not associated in any way with the developer — its just cool. I know, I know, today is a few days after the holidays, but I purposefully waited, assuming that most people don’t check online blogs while family is visiting. I haven’t recommended a smartphone app in several years, but found one in 2016 that is brilliant for [more…]

Jan 022017
 
My Resolution for 2017

What’s your resolution for 2017? After a lot of thought, I have decided on my one foremost priority for 2017: Improve quality on every front. In the last few years, I’ve noticed that far too often, my workouts rated a B / B- / or C+ in 2016. If I’m going to invest an hour at the gym today, why walk away with a C+? I’ve noticed that far too often, my meals rated a B / B- / or [more…]

Dec 262016
 
A problem to solve

There is so much opportunity for those who are willing to try creative ways to solve problems. Here is a great little story from Kenya that I find inspirational. I believe all of us see problems every day but few try to solve them with innovation and the tenacity to adapt, overcome, and get to the finish line: The world belongs to those with a positive attitude who get started, put in the work, and persist to the finish line, not [more…]

Dec 252016
 
Priority vs Priorities

I recently learned that modern society corrupted the word priority. One hundred years ago, there was no plural form: priority was singular only — it meant the single most important item. Today, we have corrupted the word to mean “important” instead of the most important. I think we should return to the original definition. So, as January 2017 is nearly here, what is your foremost priority resolution – yes, just one – for 2017? I would suggest picking a self-improvement habit-of-excellence [more…]

Dec 132016
 
The Deft Pivot

As I observed last year, very rarely do people try 5 different ideas to succeed, yet an often used phrase is “I tried everything!” — the truth is no, you did not. I ran across this article a few weeks ago. It illustrates the core idea of pivoting and changing your approach when Plan A, or Plan B, is not working out. Quitting too quickly is the norm. The original article is available at fastcompany.com but I included the text [more…]

Dec 122016
 
Learning and staying young

What did you learn today? What did you learn this week? Did you make note of it?  Without writing it down in your trusted journal or your trusted system, a place where you can find it later — without much trouble — that golden nugget just learned is likely to disappear in some inaccessible recess of your mind.  I find that occasional review is the key step to assimilate everything learned into a cohesive factory between your ears. I have often said [more…]

Nov 242016
 
Gratefulness and Happiness

Happiness is a state of mind, unlocked only by being grateful, not only for the big blessings in your life, but for all the little details too. I believe people are missing too much of their life by “living within their smartphones” although the smartphone is a blessing too. I searched for a quote that captured it all, but, unable to find one, I created my own: Happy Thanksgiving and don’t Black Friday too much – happiness is not found at [more…]

Nov 122016
 
What's your Personal Mindset?

Our recent election was a war of ideas but, more importantly, personal mindsets. Many of the ideas were half-baked at best, but they were ideas to improve the country that we should consider and debate. What was most interesting to me was to observe the mindsets of people as they debated the virtue of their candidate’s ideas. Some were all in on one side or the other, some were all out, usually making their minds up based on the personalities and news [more…]

Nov 102016
 
A New Day is Here: Embrace it!

I have often argued that change is good, and fear of change is irrational. Our election was actually a referendum on the appetite for level of change that America was ready for, cleverly disguised in less than like-able candidates, frequent surprise revelations, personal attacks, and a homogeneous media establishment that lost all perspective drinking its own Kool-aid, losing touch with the voter. We will be better off trying new things, renegotiating new trade agreements, removing excess regulation, and focusing on jobs, the [more…]

Oct 162016
 
Our Own Mental Realities (Seeing is Believing, Right?)

I have always believed that we create our own realities. Seeing is not factual, because our brain adds filters: few people understand that we are the ultimate authors of what we see. I believe we can decide how we think and what limitations we decide apply to our own lives. What do I mean that seeing isn’t factual? First, here is a simple example: What do you think this stock is about to do? What does your gut feel tell you? [more…]

Oct 022016
 
The Whole Enchilata

In case you have not noticed it, I now have the “Whole Enchilata” tab on the top menu bar of this website. This tab contains a web-based slideshow that summarizes many of the keys to living a successful life that I hope to highlight on optimisman.com. I suggest watching the Whole Enchilata in “full screen” mode — the underlying slideshow technology that I used works best that way. I hope that you enjoy it. It takes 4 minutes to play and is best [more…]

Sep 152016
 
Improve Your Mental Strength

Here is an infographic that makes the rounds every so often on the internet. I think its a great checklist to reflect on your own attitude and what aspect you should decide to improve: So, lets say you look at this chart and decide #10 is a personal weakness. What’s the first step to improve your mental perspective on “being willing to fail?” (As I have pointed out here in the past, you have to be willing to take prudent [more…]