You know what I hear a lot?
“It’s better if I don’t hope for anything so that I’m not disappointed in the end.”
Oh no no no no NO!
I think this is a horrible way to live!
Though I’ve had my fair share of this mindframe in my past (just about all of my teen years as well as my early twenties), I’ve since reframed the way I hope for things in life.
I used to refuse to hope, expecting disappointment in the end. This made my life so much darker. When I refused to hope, I shot down a lot of possibilities.
I would start to get excited about an opportunity, then immediately draw myself back for fear of being let down. I was so afraid to build myself up because I didn’t want to fall from higher up if I could help it.
Now, I refuse to let my defeatist get the best of me. I contain unbridaled hope. I look for opportunities and allow myself to dream big.
But I won’t lie: it’s painful when things don’t pan out.
Sometimes it hurts more when you put your all into something, only to have it fall through. After putting the energy out there, hearing that it wasn’t good enough can sometimes feel like a personal attack.
Sometimes optimism hurts. What matters is how you handle the rejection:
Do you internalize it, then let it keep you from hoping in the future?
Or do you look at the facts, go through the process of bringing yourself up again, then eagerly look for the next opportunity?
The successful life-changers and trailblazers I have come across in my life are all optimists, and I think that’s due to the fact that they refuse to stop dreaming.
Dreamers are visionaries by definition.
Dreamers who take action are world-changers.
People with big ideas and high hopes for themselves are the only ones driven to make sh** happen.
If you want to achieve great things in life, you have to allow yourself the freedom to dream, to hope, to look for the good and believe that it will come, even when it doesn’t every time.
You can’t let the rejections outweigh the victories!
When I first allowed myself to become an optimist, these were the main tips that helped me get through the rough patches and keep my eye focused on the silver lining.
Becoming Optimistic: Rediscover Your inner dreamer
The cool thing about switching to a sunny outlook is that you were born that way. Looking at life in an optimistic way is not a skill to be learned, but rediscovered.
Look at children: all of them are hopeful. Anything is possible to children.
They don’t have the past to tell them that failure is a possibility, so they haven’t let the fear of it keep them from hoping for amazing things.
You were no different. You can be that way again, too!
The key is allowing yourself to dream.
We have to peel back those layers of defeatist that you’ve built up from rejections in the past. You have to reassure yourself that, even if you get hurt, it’s ok. It will all be ok in the end, no matter what happens.
Because what’s worse: going through life refusing to hope for anything and, therefore, just stumbling upon any semblance of happiness and settling for whatever you end up with?
Or going out on a limb and trying to achieve your dreams? Failing at some, but achieving some, too! Those high hopes can be achievements if you go after them, but they most likely will just stay dreams if you refuse to let yourself entertain the idea that they’re possible for you.
Your inner defeatist wants to hold you back. He wants to keep you the same… forever.
Do you want that?
If you don’t, you’re going to have to face him sometime. Let’s get some practice in telling him to back off.
You’ll usually come face to face with your defeatist after that initial burst of excitement that occurs when you first consider an opportunity, dream or hope.
The defeatist causes that sinking feeling that crops up in this moment, aiming to shoot down anything that would raise you up to hope.
When you come up against this feeling, go through these steps:
1. Check yourself: what’s your thought process right now?
2. What are you basing those thoughts on? The past?
There is no rule saying that your history has to repeat itself, especially if you take different actions this time around. If you’re reading Make This Your Moment, flip to the chapter, “Letting Go of Your Past, Embracing Your Future”- there’s a worksheet in there that can really help you with this step.
3. Resolve to talk your defeatist down every time he threatens to kill your dreams. Repeat this mantra to yourself in these moments:
I am a visionary, and these dreams are my destinations. In order to build my roadmap and take action, I have to allow myself hope.
With practice, these steps can become habit, making optimism your go-to mindframe.
Want more on dealing with your defeatist? Check out Shut Up, Defeatist! for more tips on keeping him quiet.
Save Some Eggs: Be A Smart Optimist
The difference between a smart optimist and one who’s setting himself up for failure is how you handle your eggs.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Well, I’m going to echo that sentiment here.
If you put all your hope into one opportunity, you have a 50/50 chance of being destroyed if it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to.
Instead, allow yourself that hope, take action to achieve it, and look for other opportunities at the same time.
Besides being the smartest way to stay optimistic, it will keep you growing and active in achieving your dreams.
You’ll be working toward other things so that, even if one opportunity falls through the cracks, there are others waiting in the wings to boost you up again.
Don’t let this keep you from putting in your best effort, though. You can put your best effort into multiple opportunities at once!
Nothing hurts more than putting everything into one opportunity (a job, a relationship, a special event, etc.) only to have it not turn out the way you wanted it, and you’re left with nothing to recoup with.
Save yourself from this level of pain: save some eggs for different baskets.
Encountering Rejection and Avoiding Shut Down
The most important thing to remember about rejection is that not every instance is all about you so you can’t take it too personally.
The rejecting party has their own history, preferences and personality. In many instances, this rejection or fall-through has nothing to do with you.
Also, there’s the idea that maybe you just weren’t meant to do this right now. Maybe this isn’t your time yet. Maybe this isn’t the right opportunity yet.
Whether you believe in fate or not, I am sincerely convinced that everything happens for a reason.
For all the times I was rejected, something better has come from it. There has always been a reason that it didn’t pan out for me, so I don’t get hung up on it. I refuse to dwell on it.
The optimist sees many opportunities at once instead, of just this one.
So this dream fell through this time. Where’s the next opportunity? What can I do now to get creative with this roadblock… or maybe take a different route? Stay open to other options.
Most importantly, don’t let this one let down keep you from trying again in the future. Don’t let rejection beat you down.
Everyone experiences it. Yes, even the most successful people hear “No” from time to time.
What matters is how you react.
Rather than holing up in a corner and crying because you didn’t get your way, ask yourself what else you can do.
•Don’t turn on yourself.
•Don’t take it too personally.
•Do take the time to mourn if you put a lot of effort into it. That’s totally ok!
•Do something that gets your head out of woe-is-me space and into I-can-do-this space.
•Do something completely different for a while. Get your mind off of it.
•Do adjust your toolbelt. If it really matters to you, go after it again with different tactics. If your plumbing tools didn’t work for this job, maybe your makeup kit will. ;)
Refuse to sink. Refuse to let your defeatist tell you he was right and always will be.
The only way you’ll prove him wrong is by showing him.
Get up and go try again!
Though it sometimes hurts more when rejection hits you as an optimist, it’s for all the right reasons.
When you put a lot of work into an opportunity, there’s no question it’s going to be disappointing if it falls through.
When you put in work toward a dream, however, the chances that you’ll achieve success in it are exponentially higher than if you were to simply hope without action.
You can build your dream roadmap and eventually get to your destinations by taking positive action.
…Just be ok with a few detours. :)
Ok, complete change of subject:
Are you at WDS or in Portland, OR at all this weekend? If so, I’d love to meet you! Tweet me if you’re here and wanna say hi!
If you liked this post, you’ll like these too: Shut Up, Defeatist! and How to Enjoy Life… Because Apparently It’s Not That Simple.