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…]

Sep 082016
 
Nailed It, Last Month?

Most people think about goals in a far off in the future sense. Sure, goals are future-oriented but I believe it is better to look at them from both a forward-facing perspective and in the harsh light of “what did I accomplish” recently. What if, on the first day of each month, you set an alarm on your smartphone that asked you to “write down the one goal that you accomplished last month…?” Think back to your last four weeks. Did you [more…]

Sep 052016
 
Masters Degree is Well Worth It

There has been a lot of debate in recent years about the “relative value” of a college education, especially in light of skyrocketing college costs and the corresponding student debt. From my perspective, that’s the wrong debate. Common sense tells me that, if your goal is “to be all you can be” — to do your very best — finishing college is a given and a must. Sure, we have all heard the stories of the brainiac college drop-out who founded [more…]

Aug 252016
 
Have a Daughter, Part 4

Hollywood says that it portrays better equality in the movies, but in truth, they are handily flunking the test. The message in well over 85% of movies is male, and violent, and the prize is the girl at the end of the movie. When a girl is featured, she is usually a warrior dealing out violence as well. Parents of girls have to see the issues and messaging clearly and do their best to compensate because Hollywood is not helping, or changing anytime [more…]

Aug 212016
 
Optimism and Greatness

For the last few weeks, we have watched the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Sport, especially at the Olympics, is the most obvious lab that proves that greatness requires optimism. Does anyone win a gold medal without hope and belief? It is hard for me to understand why pessimists and realists think it is better to be a pessimist or a realist. Make the right choice with your life. I.M. OptimismMan

Aug 152016
 
Regrets, Resilience, Positivity, and Gaming

As you can imagine, I, OptimismMan, am a great believer of the power of positivity. But I have to confess that I have had my doubts about dedicating time to social networking and gaming, as both of these clearly seem to conflict with all my theories on investing one’s time instead of spending it in foolish ways. I’ve also explored what people regret when they are dying for clues to how to be brave and live better. So then I [more…]

Jul 222016
 
A Question for Parents

Do you prefer to be told what to do, or sold on the wisdom of doing something? Imagine that your doctor tells you “lose 20 lbs by the end of next year…” and then walks out the of room. How much commitment would you feel? On the other hand, imagine that your doctor shows you three new studies that are very convincing showing, given your family history and DNA testing, that losing 20 lbs is very likely to add 5+ years to [more…]

Jul 092016
 
Changing Higher Education

The reality today is that lots of sharp minds around the world get left behind, missing out on the value of higher education, for a many valid reasons such as financial hardship, cultural barriers, or unfortunate domino-like events in people’s lives. Without the degree, the doors to many career opportunities remain closed, although a person might have the energy, drive, optimism, and capability to excel in a particular field. The internet is changing everything — and it is inevitable that it will re-write [more…]

Jun 122016
 
Halfway Point of 2016

It is halfway through 2016. Are you halfway done on your resolutions? Do you remember where you put the list? It is a great good time to review what you decided to accomplish this year. I believe resolutions are a great tool to replace bad habits with good habits. Changing habits is not easy without daily focus, accountability, and willpower. For that reason, minimalist champion Leo Babauta is right: focus on one habit change at a time. Habits take time to [more…]

Jun 102016
 
Be Original

What makes one person more creative than another is hard to grasp. We all want to have more original ideas that change the world, make things better, or at least get us noticed. But, in practice, you must have the courage to have a lot of bad ideas to have a few great ones. To be an original, you have to put it out there, in the harsh light of public scrutiny. I think the greatest misconception is that most [more…]

Jun 082016
 
Want Fresh Ideas?

I sometimes hear people say that they are out of fresh ideas to overcome a challenge. When I later ask them about how much they read (books in particular), I invariably find that the answer is that they are heads down busy and haven’t cracked a book in months or years. I have yet to find a person that is both a) out of ideas and b) an active, avid reader. I also have noticed that whenever I read, a [more…]