…was the phrase that emerged from an interview on the radio today about job prospects for recent graduates. The word that popped out for me was “but” – interesting that generally, we associate optimism with relaxation – perhaps he meant “Be optimistic AND don’t relax” – either way, optimism and an individual’s state of relaxation (or determination and focus) are not mutually exclusive. I know a lot of optimistic people (myself included) who are rarely relaxed. I also know some self-described pessimists who, because of that perspective, are super relaxed…”why bother, it won’t work out anyway.”
I like being an optimist. I also strongly believe that our outlook DOES affect our outcome. There’s a hand-written sign at our local pool on my way into the locker room that reads, “Do your best today.” I’m not sure how a pessimist would interpret that, but I read that before every workout and it helps me to focus immediately on what I’m about to do – nothing else. Of course, one can always swim faster, but I rarely leave the pool thinking I didn’t benefit in some way from my workout that day.