Using optimism when we have made a mistake can be a difficult step as we work at developing this attitude. When we make a mistake we have some choices to make. Are we going to be embarrassed and try to hide the fact that a mistake was made? Are we going to try to get out of it by blaming another person? Are we going to deny it, being afraid that we may lose the respect or the friendship of another person?
We know that when we blame someone else that they may get in trouble for something that they did not do, and it is likely that the truth will be found out anyway. When we make a mistake the right thing to do is to admit it and be optimistic. Optimistic that everything will be OK. We have told the truth, we are taking responsibility for our actions, we have apologized and now we are looking for ways to make things right. If we have taken those steps we have every reason to believe (to be optimistic) that we will find a resolution to the mistake.
Sometimes our mistakes are on a personal level where we have said or done something that hurt the feelings of another person. Whatever the reason is that this has occurred, taking responsibility and apologizing is the right thing to do. Staying calm acknowledging the pain of the other person and your own pain, apologize if you have done something wrong, and let them know that you are willing to do what it takes to make things right. Again, when we are optimistic, we believe that by being accountable, we can make things right again.
Learning how to think and talk to ourselves is a key factor in teaching our children optimism. If we can develop the habit of looking at the good things that have happened to us, or the new things that we have learned, we have knowledge that we can reflect on when the going gets tough. Recently I posted a TED talk on smiling. Learning to think about the good things that happen to us and taking a moment to be thankful and smile will help us and our family to be optimistic.
This is like a muscle though in that if we want that ability in the difficult times, we must practice it and work it in the good times. The practice and habit of being thankful for what we have, focusing on the good both in ourselves and others, will create a good mood for ourselves. When we smile at another person it has an affect on them and on us. Our mood will pick up and we can naturally be more optimistic.
If it seems that we are in a cycle of being in a bad mood, depressed, or negative about many things, how can we break that cycle? I would suggest that we think about things in our life where we succeeded in a situation that seemed impossible. Use that as a starting point where we can see we have had success and can be sure of our ability to duplicate that success. Look for the silver – lining. If we make a mistake, what can we learn from it and where can we apply our new knowledge? What are some other possible outcomes? What is the good that we can be focused on? My third suggestion is to adopt the attitude of gratitude. Pause and be mindful of the ‘little things’ that we may have taken for granted in the past. Being thankful and taking the moment to express that gratitude either to another or to ourselves, will build on itself into not just gratitude but also optimism.
Being optimistic is more than just a great way of thinking, if you can. Optimism is a part of being a leader of others and is a way of thinking that is good for our children to learn. When our children can be optimistic, looking at the bright side, they learn to look at their goals in a new way. We know as parents that if we go into a project or learning situation and do not believe that we are able to accomplish it,or believe that we are a failure – we are most likely to have that result.
The powers that we can teach our children they need to feel hopeful about reaching their goals is first willpower. Will Power is about continuing to work at their goal until they reach it. We can teach Will Power by encouragement of their efforts along with not just giving them everything that they want. Allow them to have goals that they have to work for over a period of time. The second power they will need is “WAY-Power”. This the power that even when things get in the way, you know you will find a way to reach your goal. As parents we know that life is tough and that not all things come easy. Allowing our children to have obstacles and to learn to overcome them will be a great help in developing WAY-Power.
If you have those two powers, Will-Power and Way-Power, you have optimism.