People who carry an optimistic outlook are typically healthier and more productive than their pessimistic peers. They catch fewer colds, cope better with life’s daily struggles, and may even live longer due to reduced levels of stress.
So what about you? Can you become an optimist?
The answer is: YES! Optimism is not an inborn trait bestowed on a lucky few. It’s a skill that can be learned. Here are six things optimists do and some ideas on how to follow in their footsteps:
1. They make optimal use of all available options. Most people get irritated by those who seem “too optimistic,” but this is usually an unfortunate misinterpretation of the difference between and optimist and an idealist.
An optimist is neither naive, nor in denial, nor blind to the realities of life. An optimist believes in the optimal usage of all the available options, no matter how narrow the supply. As a result, optimistic people are able to better see the bigger picture. They can more accurately visualize and mange the present possibilities. In other words, an optimist is simply a positive realist.
For comparison’s sake: An idealist focuses only on the absolute best aspects of situations and ignores the negatives in total detriment to reality, a pessimist sees no possibilities at all, and an optimist strives to see all the possibilities so they can find the best possible option among them.
So, when picking lemons off a lemon tree, an idealist endlessly reaches for the ripest looking lemon, a pessimist settles for whichever one is closest, while an optimist picks all the lemons in sight and makes lemonade.
2. They respect themselves for who they are. As a child, you impressed and inspired yourself on a daily basis. You ran, jumped, swung, sang and danced openly without a care in the world, and without worrying about what everyone else thought of you. You didn’t need anyone else’s constant approval, because deep down you knew you were amazing.
As you grew into adulthood, the pressure from peers, popular media and society as a whole began to wear on you. You started comparing yourself to everyone around you. You judged and measured your body, your lifestyle, your career, and your relationships against other people’s lives. And when you realized that many of these people have things that you do not, bitterness set in and you gradually stopped appreciating all the great things you do have in your life.
Optimists defend themselves against this self-dislike in two primary ways. First, they get back to trusting their own intuition when it comes to their daily activities. They stop asking for everyone else’s approval and simply do what they know in their heart feels right. Second, optimists don’t judge themselves against a set of unrealistic, third party ideals. They let go of the ideals and instead hold on to the belief that they are always good enough just the way they are, even as they grow into a stronger, wiser version of themselves.
3. They disconnect happiness from achievement. In order to be optimistic, you have to be generally content with your life. In order to find this contentment, you have to look within yourself. Happiness, after all, is an inside job.
If you look for happiness outside yourself, by tying it to a specific achievement you much reach, you have two big problems:
Optimists disconnect achievement from happiness and give themselves permission to be happy, in each moment, without the need for anything more. This isn’t to say that they are complacent. They still set goals, work hard, help others, and grow, but they learn to indulge joyously in the journey, not the destination.
- You may never succeed. – If you feel like something is wrong with you and needs to be fixed, but you continuously fall short of fixing it, you will start yourself on a downward spiral where every time you fail to fix it you feel even worse. Eventually you will be unable to succeed simply because you no longer believe in your ability to do so.
- You may succeed and decide you want even more. – If you feel like something is wrong with you and needs to be fixed, and you succeed at fixing it, you will likely find something new about yourself that needs fixing too. Maybe you’ve lost 20 pounds, but now you want tighter abs. Maybe you’ve paid down your debt, but now you want a bank account with a million dollars in it. You get the idea. It’s a never-ending cycle for your entire life. You never reach it, because you’re always looking for happiness from external achievements. You don’t find the happiness from within so you look to other sources.
4. They avoid negative people and create positivity. You are only as good as the company you keep, and misery loves company. If you spend too much time around negative people, there’s a strong chance you won’t find much to be happy about. Do yourself a favor and dodge other people’s negativity. Surround yourself with positive, emotionally supportive friends and spend time together doing things that make you smile.
Optimism is a learned habit, and it is positively contagious. So surround yourself with people who could infect you with positivity, and then pass your new good mood on to a friend or stranger via kind words and deeds – tell a friend how good they look today, let somebody have that parking space, let that person with only a few items cut in front of you at the market. The simple act of doing something nice for those around you will help create more positive people to interact with.
The bottom line is that life is way too amazing and short to waste time with people who don’t treat you right. Surround yourself with people who lift you up when you’re down, and then return the favor when you’re able.
5. They expect life to be a series of ups and downs. Just because you’re an optimist doesn’t mean you’re not going to have bad days. You will – that’s reality. Life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. A foundation of realism keeps things in perspective and helps prevent things from being blown out of proportion.
Expecting life to be wonderful all the time is wanting to swim in an ocean in which waves only rise up and never come crashing down. However, when you recognize that the rising and crashing waves are part of the exact same ocean, you are able to let go and be at peace with the reality of these ups and downs. It becomes clear that life’s ups require life’s downs.
Bottom line: Prepare for the downs but capitalize on the ups – the former makes you sensible and the latter makes you an optimist.
6. They use positive language and gestures. It’s not always what happens that determines your mood, but how you verbalize and express what happens that counts.
For instance, when an optimist experiences a bout of success she might say, “That’s just as I had anticipated; I studied hard and my diligence paid off,” while a pessimist might say, “Goodness, was I lucky to get a good grade on that test,” not giving herself any credit and literally snatching her own defeat from the hands of victory.
If an optimist encounters a do-it-yourself project she can’t figure out, she’s likely to say something like, “Either the instructions I’m following are unclear, or this project is going to require a bit more effort than I thought, or maybe I’m just having a rough day.” In other words, an optimist uses positive self-talk to keep the struggle outside herself (”the instructions”), specific (”more effort”), and temporary (”a rough day”), while the pessimist would likely get down on herself and interpret the same struggle as internal, widespread, and everlasting.
Go ahead and follow in the optimist’s footsteps by speaking to yourself in a more positive way regardless of whether you succeed or fail, and you’ll gradually become more optimistic.
Physical body language is also important. Your smile actually influences your mood in a positive way. When you feel down, your brain tells your face that you’re sad, and your facial muscles respond by putting on a frown, which in turn conveys a message back to your brain that says, “Yep, we’re feeling unhappy.” You can flip the switch on this internal reaction by adjusting your facial muscles into a smile so they don’t correspond to what you’re feeling. This is a clever way of sending a different message back to your brain: “Hey, life is still pretty good and I’m doing OK.” Your brain will respond by gradually changing your mood accordingly.
Your turn…What never fails to make you feel better? What helps to boost your optimism? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below. Writer: Marc
Ask anyone who’s lost a large amount of weight what jumpstarted their journey to better health, and they’ll probably tell you about their “light bulb moment,” the instant that they decided they’d had enough and were willing to do whatever it took to change. For LA-based musician and clothing designer Papa Joe Aviance, that moment arrived in 2009 when his first house music release, “Last Night a DJ Saved my Life,” hit #6 on the Billboard Magazine Dance Charts. When he saw the music video for the song—which at that time was playing on MTV and VH1—he couldn’t get over how large he’d become. “I was 450 pounds—I was two cheeseburgers away from diabetes or high cholesterol,” recalls Aviance. “I had been big for pretty much all of my life, and I was sick of hating myself. It was now or never.”
To start, he trashed nearly all the contents of his kitchen. “I cleared everything out of my fridge that was going to get in the way of me losing weight—cookies, candy, sodas,” he says. “I was only going to drink water or unsweetened iced tea, and no more fast food. At that point, I’d been drinking a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew every day, and if I went through any local drive-thru, they knew my name—that’s how often I used to eat that stuff.”
But he had a roadblock to contend with—at the time, he was broke. Aviance, who was then pursuing music and clothing design on the side, had recently been laid off work. “I was unemployed and couldn’t afford a gym membership or fancy diets,” says Aviance. “I realized that walking was the easiest exercise I could do and it cost nothing. So I grabbed my dance music and tennis shoes, and started walking.” (Walk off the weight with these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy!)
At first, his walks were short—to the end of his block and back to grab the daily Billboard. “The first time around the block—I couldn’t even do it, it was just mounds of sweat,” he says. But he kept at it. One trip around the block became two, and soon he was walking a few miles every day.
Only $50 Per Week for Food
While he was determined to eat better, Aviance had to find a way to do it on a shoestring budget. “A friend told me I should check out the 99-Cent Store. Since I couldn’t afford Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, I decided to see what they had.” Aviance was pleasantly surprised to find that the 99-Cent Store in his neighborhood had plenty of healthy foods to choose from. “Oatmeal, raisins, nuts, bananas, apples, oranges, bell peppers, spinach, salad dressing, tuna fish, eggs… I was shocked. I was blown away,” recalls Aviance. “It was a huge savings. I literally spent no more than $50 a week on food.” (Feeding a family? You can still do it on the (healthy) cheap—here are 20 ways to feed your family for $100 a week.)
Within three to four weeks, Aviance started to see changes. “And within 3 months, I was like ‘Hey, this is working!” he laughs. “I started to take all of my clothes to a seamstress so she could take everything in. I was still too broke to go out and buy new clothes, but I didn’t care. I was on a mission.”
Aviance’s morning walks become so regular, that people in his neighborhood started to take notice. “Since I walk every morning, people have started giving me high fives. I felt like a mini rock star in my community. I’ve even had people stop me and tell them I motivated and inspired them to start walking.”
Low-Cost Healthy Meals
Papa Joe was able to prepare a variety of healthy meals using ingredients he purchased at the 99-Cent Store. Here are a several examples of what he ate on his diet.
1. 3 egg omelette with spinach, green pepper, tomatoes, and 2 slices of wheat toast
2. Cottage cheese with fresh fruit (oranges, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or apples)
Snacks (1 or 2 items)
1. Trail Mix
2. Peanut Butter and Jelly on Whole Wheat
4. Snack Size Peanut M&M’s (For cheat day only) – Keeping it real!
1. Yogurt with fresh fruit (Cantaloupe, Mango, Banana, or Honeydew)
2. Salad with tuna or salmon and balsamic dressing
1. Chicken Pot Pie with a side of potatoes, squash, or mixed vegetables (broccoli, string beans, cauliflower, carrots)
2. Quiche (eggs, spinach, mixed vegetables) with beans and rice
Health Risks Disappeared
Within 18 months, Aviance lost 250 pounds, and a visit to his doctor confirmed that he was no longer at risk for diabetes, elevated cholesterol, or high blood pressure. “I’ve always been a very happy guy who would kid around with anyone, but when I was heavy, I felt like I had to be that way because I thought people were judging me based on my size. But now it’s a happiness that is really shining from the inside out.” To speed along his transformation, he started to incorporate breaks for pushups and other strength moves during his walks. “I do pushups right in the street—the city is my gym,” he says. (Try these simple strength-training moves you can do anywhere, anytime.)
Today, Aviance is a health and wellness expert touring the country to inspire obese children and adults to start moving. “I want people to be as happy as I am, and part of that is being healthy. The sidewalk is my treadmill. Every morning I walk right outside my door and go. They can do it, too.”
Writer: Jenna Bergen
Rick Ross and Jadakiss link up again with another classic record off of Maybach Music new compilation album "Self Made 3" set to hit stores this summer.
Goût de Diamants, a luxury champagne brand unveiled a limited edition bottle “Taste of Diamonds” worth £1.2million ($1.8 million) in collaboration with acclaimed luxury designer Alexander Amosu.
“The bottle already has a distinctive look with its natural design, all I had to do is bring it to the next level of ultimate luxury.” – commented on the design, Alexander Amosu.
Custom-made for one of Goût de Diamant’s private clients the unique bottle flaunts an 18ct white gold superman-like tag that weighs an approx. 48gm along with a single flawless deep cut white diamond weighing 19cts fitted at its center. The label is also handmade in 18ct solid gold and weighs approximately 36gsm, handcrafted and engraved with the clients name. The bottle comes in black and just lures that you must have it. Price: $1.8 million USD Purchase: Goût de Diamants
If you get decent value from making TO-DO lists, you’ll also get significant returns – in productivity, in improved relationships, in financial stability, and in heightened levels of happiness – from adding certain things to a TO-DON’T list.
As you may have guessed, a TO-DON’T list’ is a list of things not to do. It might seem a bit amusing, but it’s an incredibly useful tool for keeping track of unproductive habits like these:
1. Worrying about the wrong people. The ladies of The Real Housewives of Orange County, they’ll survive without you. The family members and friends of Duck Dynasty, they won’t notice your absence if you stop watching their show. Even the private lives of your elected politicians and local public figures mean nothing in the grand scheme of your own life.
But your significant other, your friends, your children, your siblings, extended family members, business partners, employees and customers – these are the people who truly matter to you. Give them your time and attention. They’re the ones who deserve it.
And as you meet new individuals, be polite, but don’t try to be best friends with everyone. Take things slow and remain focused on your core people – the individuals whose absence would immediately make your life less fulfilling.
2. Focusing all your attention on future events instead of present moments. This moment will never happen again. Look around. Cherish your time as you’re living it. Work towards something, but enjoy the journey of getting from here to there. Experience each step. Don’t succumb to a vicious cycle of overbearing productivity that forces you to constantly think about every imaginable time and place except right here, right now.
It’s often hard to tell the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. And someday you will likely discover that the small moments you’re living now are really the big ones worth dreaming about. So learn to appreciate what you HAVE NOW before time forces you appreciate what you HAD THEN.
3. Delaying decisions. Sometimes it doesn’t take as much strength to do things as it does to decide what to do.
Life is filled with difficult decisions. As you move through life you will come up on many forks in the road where both paths look equally as promising. The important thing is not which path you choose, but that you do in fact choose a path.
Deciding sometimes hurts. Not knowing which path to take can be painful. But nothing is more disheartening than never making a decision. If you never choose a road, you will never know where it leads. So when you’re faced with two equally good options, don’t be one of the people who choose the third option: to not choose.
4. Saying “yes” when you really mean “no.” Stop over-committing. While saying “yes” can take you down some wonderful roads, there’s also a ton of value in saying “no.” Your time in life is extremely limited; do you really want to give it away so easily?
If you don’t have time to commit to a new project, fulfill a favor, etc., it’s a good idea to just say “no.” Refusing a new request from friends, family, customers, etc. can be difficult, but rarely is it as stressful as over-committing and leaving no time for yourself.
The ambition to be successful in life is not always the biggest challenge, narrowing the number of commitments to be successful in is. Even when you have the knowledge and ability to access highly productive states, you get to a point where being simultaneously productive on too many fronts at once causes all activities to slow down, stand still, and sometimes even slide backwards.
Bottom line: Say no when you know you should.
5. Buying stuff you don’t need. Proper money management is one of the most beneficial skills we can master to create a comfortable, happy future for ourselves, and yet it’s a skill that we are often culturally cut off from understanding. The consumerist society we live in tries to make us feel that happiness lies in owning things and continuously buying new things, and fails to teach us about the happiness not found in things.
When external influences suddenly motivate you to consider a new purchase, ask yourself this: “Is this thing I’m thinking of purchasing really better than the things I already have? Do I really need it? Or am I just being persuaded to be displeased with what I have now?”
You’ve heard the saying, “The best things in life are free.” Believe it. Spending time with friends, laughing, enjoying the antics of a pet, seeing a child smile, experiencing intimate and heart-felt moments with a significant other – these gifts are precious and free. Money brings comfort, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying that comfort. But it’s important to spend money on the things that matter to you, and let go of spending that doesn’t add value to your life. Spend on what you need, but don’t forget why you’re buying what you’re buying, or the spending will become a destructive habit.
6. Gossiping. Gossip is the evil. If you want to know something about someone, ask. Don’t assume; that’s how gossip grows and spreads.
If you’ve talked to more than one person about something someone else is doing, it’s time to step forward and actually talk to the person you’ve been talking about. And if it’s truly ‘not your place’ to talk to this person, it’s likely ‘not your place’ to talk about them either.
Ultimately, you should focus on judging less, loving more, and resisting the temptation to gossip about others, or portray them in a poor light. Be impeccable with your words. Speak with integrity. Avoid using your words to gossip about others. Use the power of your voice to spread truth and love only.
7. Filling every waking moment with activity. Downtime is imperative. In all walks of life, the highest human performance occurs when there is equilibrium between activity and rest. This is due to the fact that the human body is designed to labor in short pulses, and requires rest and renewal at regular intervals, both physically and mentally. In other words, your productive working days should look something like this: activity, short rest, activity, short rest, etc.
Make time every day to not be busy. Have dedicated downtime moments – clear points in the day to reflect, rest and recharge. Don’t fool yourself; you’re not so busy that you can’t afford a few minutes of sanity.
You deserve quiet moments away from the daily hustle, in which no problems are confronted, no solutions are explored, and no demands are being made of your time. At least twice a day, while you’re awake, withdraw yourself from the sources of stress that refuse to withdraw from you. Do so for a few minutes and simply be and breathe.
Your turn… What do you need to stop doing? What belongs on your TO-DON’T list? Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts.
Have you dreamed of doing something big with your life? Are you longing to find your passion — something that makes you come alive? We all want to live a passionate, purposeful life, but most people have no idea how to go about doing that. How do you know what your passion is or if you’ve chosen the right path? How do you recreate the life you have now to build the amazing life you want to have? There are so many considerations, decisions and potential roadblocks.
However, finding and living your life passion is one of the most important endeavors you will ever undertake. Once you are living your passion, the quality of your life will improve dramatically. When you are doing something you love — something you feel deeply engaged in — everything feels easier and more joyful.
There is a process to uncovering your passion and living your passion. It isn’t hard, but it does take commitment, patience, and tenacity. There are many practical considerations in addition to the research and experimentation required in figuring out exactly what is the best fit for you.
But don’t be disheartened, because it is so worth it. And once you make the decision to work toward your passion, you’ll find the daily actions you take to get there offer so much satisfaction on their own. When you know a great outcome is ahead, the work to reach that outcome doesn’t really feel like work.
Let’s look at some of the actions you can take to get the ball rolling.
1. Write a vision. Write down exactly what you want your life to look like at the end of this process, in every area of your life. Post the vision where you can see it every day. You can revise it along the way if you want.
2. Examine your current life. You’ve been focused on what you don’t like about your life, but examine your current life to see how much of it matches your vision. You want to maintain those things and remember that part of your vision is already happening.
3. Define your values. Make sure you’re clear on your core values for your life. Every decision you make about your passion and how you want your life to look should support or reflect those values. Here’s a list of 400 value words.
4. What are you tolerating? What in your current life are you just tolerating? What drains your energy or constantly bugs you? Start addressing these things one by one to make room for the new, good stuff coming your way.
5. Get rid clutter. Not only physical clutter but the clutter of too many distractions, activities and commitments that suck your time and energy.
6. Refine your relationships. Look at all of your close relationships, both personal and professional. Are there any that drain you, upset you, or cause you problems? How can you release these people or change your relationship with them to make room for important, new relationships?
7. Make an appointment. Set a daily or thrice weekly appointment with yourself to work on your life passion actions. If you don’t set aside the time for the work, you will never reach your goal. Make it non-negotiable.
8. Communicate. Talk with the people in your life who need to know what you are working toward. If your passion is threatening to a spouse or loved one, provide assurances that you are planning carefully. You will need their buy-in and support.
9. Save money. Begin putting money aside in a savings account. You may need this as you transition toward your new life — for education, to get a business started, or to sustain you financially as you transition.
10. Decide your income. Determine your lowest acceptable yearly income. To do this, you will need to know how you spend your money, where you can cut back, and how long you are willing to live at this income level.
11. Find other income streams. Start thinking about ways you can bring in extra cash in a pinch. Even if you transition from one full-time job to another, it’s always good to have a back-up plan.
12. Start reading. Read everything you can about your passion or passions. Look at how other people have translated that passion into a career. Make notes about anything that seems interesting or relevant to you.
13. Refine your search. As you begin reading and researching, you may find one or more career options that jump out at you. Deepen your research on those topics to find out exactly what kind of education is needed, who is already successful in this area, what kind of salary you could make, how long it would take to become proficient in this area.
14. Find a mentor. Find one or two people who are doing what you want to do and doing it well. Connect with them. Send an email to ask for their advice. Make a list of questions you want to ask.
15. Refine further. As you learn some of the specifics of making a profit from your passion, do more research on what needs to be done to take those actions. This may be an on-going process as you are learning or transitioning.
16. Take some assessments. Whether or not you are pursuing self-employment or working in a team environment, it’s useful to take a career personality test, an entrepreneurial aptitude test, and an emotional intelligence test. These will help you see where you might run into difficulties and what you are most well-suited for. You can find many of these free online. Here’s an entrepreneur assessment and an emotional intelligence assessment.
17. Take action. Taking the first real action toward your dream is scary. It might be signing up for a course, taking out a loan, volunteering, or buying an instrument. This is the first action that says to you, “I’m committed to changing my life.” You may not feel 100% sure that your first step is the right step, but you have to take it to find out. So set a date and take it.
18. Brainstorm and write. Think about all of the possible action steps you will need to take to get you from here to there (once you have done your research). Make one big long list, then go back and prioritize and order the list. Break down each action step into the smallest possible steps.
19. Set up a calendar. Start building your planning calendar by assigning the above action steps to specific days or weeks. Allow yourself time for setbacks, interruptions, or changes.
20. Keep communicating. Remember to keep those close to you involved and in the loop. You may meet some resistance. Think ahead about this possibility and how you will handle it. What is the bottom line for you? For them? Keep the lines of communication open.
21. Decide about your current job. Be sure to include as part of your action steps how you will move from your current job into your new one. Will you continue working at your old job as you start your new work? How and when will you discuss this with your employer? Be sure to leave on a good note and handle things professionally so you can maintain those ties.
22. Stay financially prepared. Depending on what you are doing, you may not bring in much money at the beginning of a new career. If you’ve done your planning, you are prepared with savings and/or extra income streams. Keep an emergency fund available and a list of contacts for extra work if necessary.
23. Juice up your motivation. It is natural when you move from something safe and secure to the unknown to feel fear and lose motivation at times. Stay on top of that by reading motivational books or listening to audiobooks. Continue to research and read about successful people in your field.
24. Expect setbacks. Count on setbacks happening several times during the process of putting your passion to work. The path isn’t linear. You will have bumps in the road. If you accept that from the get-go, it won’t be a surprise when it happens.
25. Take daily action. Thinking, planning, fretting, and pontificating only go so far. Only daily, focused action will move you forward. If you don’t know what to do, just do something.
26. Enjoy yourself! You are working toward something amazing — the life you are creating. This is your heart’s desire, and although you haven’t reached it yet, every action you take is carrying you closer. Relish each and every action, because the process can be just as exciting as the end result.
Remember, uncovering your passion and making it real in your life is a process. Continue to take daily action toward your dream, refining and shifting as you learn more about yourself and deal with the natural challenges that are inherent in any life change. Keep your vision of a passionate life in the forefront of your mind, and before you know it, you will wake up one day and realize your are living your dream.
What life passion do you dream about? What do you want to spend more time doing with your life? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Probably one of the most anticipated tracks off Excuse My French. Features The Weeknd and the video should be out soon. Album drops May 21st. Ju Heard.
If you don't know him you will, these vocals derive from a Manchester born singer named Gareth Daley. Despite its inarguable brilliance, the song stalled at No 37, which is a shame because it would have been the perfect way for Daley to build on his inclusion in the BBC Sound of 2011 long list at the beginning of the year. No matter, Daley is now signed to A&M Records and appears to be taking his time with the whole "becoming a pop star" thing, offering a free mixtape, Those Who Wait. Highlights include Alone Together, a gorgeous duet with Marsha Ambrosius.
James Workman presents a new Kanye West documentary. Entitled “Where The Lonely Kids Go When The Bell Rings”. Workman stated the following about the short film:
“My goal was to capture something from every solo album, and the video is basically chronological. Starting with CD and ending with MBDTF. I entitled it Where The Lonely Kids Go When The Bell Rings (I know that’s not the actual line in Eyes Closed), because I feel like that sums upKanye’s career – The outsider. The misunderstood genius.”