Optimism is like humour – in crises and times of adversity it sometimes gets lost or becomes more difficult. Even if it is particularly important in exactly these situations!
Being confident when everything is going well is easy.
Maintaining confidence when you have been stuck in uncertainty and constantly changing conditions for months is a different ball game.
Easily we switch to “victim and complaint mode”, losing valuable energy ruminating and in action-blocking lamenting. As a result, we may lose sight of the three pillars of our well-being*:
- Meaningfulness of our actions (We stop acting for “it all makes no sense”)
- Comprehensibility and clarity (We don’t know where to start!)
- Feasibility/manageability (We lose the feeling that we can control and can master the situation)
One of the characteristics of more optmistic people is that they maintain a more realistic view, especially when it comes to assessing what they can and cannot influence. As a result, they are more likely to take responsibility and focus their energy on the areas that are within their control to improve the situation for themselves. They are therefore more realistic, convinced that they can make a difference – and consequently take action.
Even though you may not have been born with this attitude – it can be developed. I like to compare this with sports training. Some muscles are simply not as developed because we have not used them over the years. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there and can be activated at any time!
At the beginning, it may feel a little “mentally sore” (feels strange, unfamiliar, awkward, has to be consciously controlled …) but over time they become stronger and stronger (movement/thought patterns happen automatically, faster and more naturally) and we become more and more agile and able to act.
Therefore, today you will get a seemingly simple – but very effective – exercise that trains your optimism muscle in challenging situations. It helps you to gain clarity, to take meaningful steps and to regain a sense of control. To do this, proceed as follows:
- Identify and name the situation that is challenging for you.
- List all the things that are under your control in this situation. Take your time, keep asking yourself “what else?” This way, you will also explore the points that may only occur on second sight.
- Next, list the things that you cannot influence, things that are beyond your control.
- Put both lists next to each other – and now make a conscious decision on where you want to focus your energy and resources (feel free to say this out loud).
- Plan purposeful action on the basis of your decision.
- Go for it!
What you do with the “I can’t control list” is up to you 😉
Sometimes it is good to ritually say goodbye to it – i.e. to consciously dispose of it.
But maybe you also want to keep it as a reminder for the moments when your thoughts and energy drift there again.
You are the hero and not the victim of your life!
Have a creative week,
*Salutogenetic Model according to Aaron Antonov