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…]

May 232016
 
Food for Thought: Fixing America

Re-uniting the country is a tricky topic these days. Red vs blue seems to be getting worse. Race issues continue to crop up and violence spills out onto the streets. We have a huge group of voters that are sick and tired and want to send Washington a message, no matter the cost. The middle-class is getting squeezed. Jobs continue to vaporize to the dragon of outsourcing. I ran into this short presentation about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that might be [more…]

May 182016
 
Social Media and Political Quagmire

Silicon Valley and the avid users of social media, which is nearly everyone under a certain age, think that social media is great for society. I believe, like any technology, there are negative consequences that few appreciate. What seems clear to me is that social networks — Facebook, Twitter, and the rest — are the key contributor to the political quagmire we see in Washington. There will always be programs that the nation must tackle that will not be popular but necessary. Social [more…]

Apr 072016
 
Commitment to Be Your Best

Over the years, I have often written about the essential requirement to be 100% committed to whatever you are doing. Overcoming adversity demands it, and every one of us will run into plenty of adversity. In my life, I learned this painful lesson as a freshman in college, when — and this is most definitely not my proudest moment — I literally threw away a full ride scholarship because I was not committed to doing my best and doing what [more…]

Apr 032016
 
Ten Great Quotes About Friendship

Success is empty and hollow without sincere, good friendships. The problem of course, is that most friendships are not true lasting friendships; rather, they are shallow friendships of convenience that do not weather the storms, the misunderstandings, the disagreements, the years, or the separations. A friend is not a friend if they only show up when they need your support. As with all worthy pursuits in life, great friendships require optimism and action. To have great friendships, you must invest [more…]

Mar 292016
 
Learn to Do One Extraordinary Trick

Is learning a cool-as-heck trick hard? Probably not — it just takes time and patience and a vision. Click to watch this video: Why not? What’s stopping you? It doesn’t have to be as tech-savvy as Marco’s trick, but why not learn one thing that can amaze kids and adults alike. Life is too short to waste it. I.M. Optimism Man