Lesson 68: Look on the bright side

Published 3:57 pm Monday, April 12, 2010

I think you should be an optimist. Optimists have more fun than pessimists.

Rudy Giuliani

Optimism. Again, it is a choice you make. We keep coming back to the inescapable fact that you are in total control of your own life.

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Weve already mentioned that Rudolph Giuliani was the mayor of New York City during the September 11, 2001, attacks and their aftermath. He was faced with disaster on a scale most of us can only imagine. If anybody had a right to take a dim view of the world, it was Rudy.

And yet Rudy Giuliani wasand isan optimist. Not only that, he tries to avoid negative people. In his speeches around the country, Giuliani often says, I ran a lot of organizations. For the most part, the people I hired and promoted were the positive ones.

That should be enough to get your attention right there. If you want to succeed in the job market or business world, it is essential to have a positive outlook. Nobody wants a sourpuss working for them, or with them for that matter.

Think of someone you know who is always complaining, who never has a good thing to say about anyone, and when given a choice, assumes the worst is going to happen regardless of the situation. Is that person wildly successful? I doubt it.

The person youre thinking of probably doesnt have a lot of friends, either nobody likes spending time with a grouch. Over the years, Saturday Night Live has had some memorable recurring sketches based on very funny pessimist characters, such as Ralph and Wendy Whiner and Debbie Downer.

We laugh at these sketches just as we laugh at real-life whiners behind their backs because gripers never seem to realize what a downbeat effect they have on those around them. But the opposite is also true: optimistic people have an uplifting effect on others. People are drawn to an optimist, because the optimist sees the best in everything and everyone.

Walk down any city street and pick out an optimist and a pessimist. They both live in the same world, yet the optimist sees it in a positive light and is generally happy, while the pessimist sees it in a negative light and is generally unhappy. This is a choice that each of us makes.

Excerpted from “The Graduates Book of Practical Wisdom: 99 Lessons They Cant Teach in School” by C. Andrew Millard, published by Morgan James Publishing, available in bookstores and online. &opy; 2008 by C. Andrew Millard; all rights reserved. For more information visit www.wisegraduate.com.