Are You a Conditional or Complacent Optimist? - American Society of Employers - Mary E. Corrado

Are You a Conditional or Complacent Optimist?

Did you know there are two different types of optimism? Conditional optimism is when you are optimistic and also take control of aspects of your life that can affect the outcome.  Complacent is when you are optimistic but wait for good things to happen. Which one are you?

Being either one is better than being a pessimist.  According to a Boston University study of over 70,000 people, those who were more optimistic enjoyed 11% to 15% longer life spans and had lower incidences of disease.  It comes through at work too – people who are more optimistic tend to have better job performance and job satisfaction according to the Journal of Management.

An article on Fast Company recently took a look at how to become more conditionally optimistic – taking action to create something better for the future. This is versus complacent optimism – taking a passive approach and being hopeful and believing good things will occur.

Conditional optimism relates directly to a growth mindset – believing you can always learn and improve. In leadership and in your personal life, it’s important to have a growth mindset and be conditionally optimistic. These are the six tips Fast Company gives for perfecting conditional optimism:

  1. Express Gratitude – Show your gratitude to those around you.  Recognize a job well done in the workplace. Gratitude and optimism are very closely related. Showing gratitude contributes to a culture of supporting each other. This results in people feeling valued. Focus on being thankful for people and circumstances rather than material things.
  2. Be Proud – Recognize your own capabilities and be proud of them.  This has been shown to reduce the feeling of burnout. Of course, there is a fine line of being proud and being arrogant.  Stay humble while recognizing how you contribute.
  3. Seek Growth Opportunities – Seek out opportunities for career growth. Taking steps to further your education and better yourself results in increased positivity. Growth opportunities come in many forms – mentors, classes, job shadowing.
  4. Stick With It – Realize that you don’t have to leave your organization to grow your career. While 41% of workers left a job last year, 72% regretted it according to Monster. Focus on growing within your current organization and position. When people felt more positive, 69% reported they were unlikely to leave their job.
  5. Focus on the Future – Learn from your past, but focus on the future. Use the knowledge and resiliency you’ve learned throughout the years to plan ahead for a positive future. Set goals for yourself and develop a plan on how to achieve them.
  6. Refresh and Renew – Resiliency is key to remaining optimistic.  Don’t dwell on the bad things or get stuck when things are going bad.  Make yourself a plan on how to move ahead.

Are you a conditional optimist or do you tend to be more complacent? How has it affected you? Email me at [email protected].

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