Changing my life … one habit at a time

“5 Reasons to be an Optimist”

No doubt you’ve heard sayings about happiness and the power of positive thinking. For instance, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” and “some pursue happiness, others create it.” Turns out that optimism truly is a powerful force. And, regardless of your circumstances or personal setbacks, you can choose to approach life with a sunny outlook, transforming negative thoughts into positive ones and increasing your chances of success.

Still not convinced? Here are five findings that prove the power of positivity.

1. Optimism can lead to longevity. Several studies have confirmed that those with a positive attitude often live longer than their gloomier counterparts. A study performed at Wagening University in the Netherlands examined nearly a thousand men and women. The predicting factor of their longevity was their agreement with the statement – “I still have goals to strive for.” When subjects were tested nine years after the original survey, the death rates of the optimistic men were 63 percent lower than those who had not agreed with the optimistic statement. Women were 35 percent lower. Scientists believe that optimists who have more to live for often make more positive lifestyle choices that may help prolong their life.

2. Optimism can boost sales. A study of the sales personnel at Metropolitan Life Insurance were tested for optimism and success ratios. Those who scored the highest level of optimism sold a whopping 37 percent more life insurance than those who were identified as pessimists. Not too bad for your bottom line, right?

3. Optimism may improve your ability to do business in other ways. One of the most dreaded parts of running a business is collecting from delinquent customers or clients. But a 2000 study done on debt collectors in a large, competitive agency found that the most successful collectors in the agency were shown to have much higher scores in the areas of optimism, independence, and self-actualization. All great traits that can boost your success in business and in life.

4. Optimism nurtures healthy relationships. According to author and Harvard medical professor Dr. George E. Vaillant, our greatest source of resilience comes from our internal capacity for optimism. In his famous book The Wisdom of Ego, Vaillant writes that the healthiest, most resilient people possess “both the capacity to be bent without breaking and the capacity, once bent, to spring back.”

5. Optimism is contagious. A physician and social scientist at Harvard Medical School studied nearly five thousand people and their connections with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers over the course of twenty years. The outcome? According to the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal last year, our next-door neighbor’s joy increases the likelihood that we will also be happy by up to 34 percent. The study also found that our level of happiness impacts not only those in our immediate circle, but also people two and three degrees removed from us.

Optimism allows us to successfully navigate life’s greatest challenges. Remember, we have the power to be aware of our thoughts and to choose optimism every single day.

© 2009 Ali International, LLC

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Self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur and Inc. 500 CEO Ali Brown is devoted to creating financial freedom for women globally through the power of entrepreneurship. To learn how to create wealth and live an extraordinary life now, register for her free weekly articles at www.AliBrown.com

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