You need REALISTIC OPTIMISM to get ahead now!

One of the most effective leaders in the last 50 years would undoubtedly include Jack Welch, the Chairman and CEO of General Electric. He knew what it took to get ahead, be successful, and make a difference in the world of work.

He also understood what got in the way of success. As he said,

“The minute you start thinking connections are more important to advancement than brains, positive energy, and hard work, you are signing up for a bad attitude.”

In other words, a good attitude or “positive energy” is extremely helpful, and a “bad attitude” or pessimism is a deal killer in the get-ahead game of life.

So it only makes sense to know where you fall on that scale. Are you more of an Optimist or a Pessimist? Take the following quiz

Read the following statements and indicate your answer by checking “True” or “False.”

1. You need a regular routine in your life, or you feel insecure.

______ True ______ False

2. You think your past was better than your future will be.

______ True ______ False

3. On a quiet night when everyone’s asleep, you find your mind wandering to the possibilities of a burglar breaking into your house, a huge storm coming, or some other disaster.

______ True ______ False

4. When buying presents, you feel the pressure to get the exact right gift.

______ True ______ False

5. If you’re the new person in a group, it takes time for the others to warm up to you.

______ True ______ False

6. To keep your place in the workplace hierarchy, you sometimes have to step on a few people.

______ True ______ False

7. A workplace without problems would be a dull place to work.

______ True ______ False

8. You’ve just had an unappealing appetizer in an expensive restaurant. You now expect the main course to be rather mediocre as well.

______ True ______ False

9. You are driven by money.

______ True ______ False

10. You don’t believe you have what it takes to overcome any obstacle that gets in your way.

______ True ______ False


Give yourself one point for each “True” answer and three points for each “False” answer. Add up the total score to discover where you stand on the scale of Optimism versus Pessimism.

  • If you scored 10 to 20, you fall on the pessimistic side of the scale.

As human beings we need pessimism to a certain extent, because it can occasionally keep us out of danger. But extreme pessimism will not serve you well.

In fact, the lower your score, the more you tend to see things in a negative light. You spend too much time and energy thinking about upsetting memories from your past, your failures in the present, or disappointments you may experience in the future. You may think that life has nothing to offer and feel too much anxiety, worry, shame, depression, or sadness.

  • If you scored 21 to 30, you fall on the Optimistic side of the scale.

Whether it’s an instinct for self-preservation or simply a positive approach to life, the higher your score, the more confidence you have in yourself and your ability to adapt. Maybe you’re naive, or maybe you just have a short memory for the things that go wrong in life, but you’re known for your ability to look on the bright side.

As an optimist, you hate mediocrity, you refuse to get involved in petty disputes and you believe there’s no such thing as “can’t.” You know how to get the most out of life without letting obstacles get in your way.

So how do you like your score? Are you too pessimistic? Is your degree of optimism serving you well? Or would you be better off if you had more of an optimistic attitude? I find that most people would be well served if they had a bit more optimism going for them … especially in these tough times.

So how do you do that?

► 1. Act optimistically.


Dr. Dale Anderson studied actors and actresses and discovered an amazing thing. When the actors and actresses played the role of a happy character, their internal chemistry changed dramatically. They not only felt better but their bodies exhibited all the signs of a healthier person.

Conclusion? Extensive biochemical changes take place when a person ACTS happy. And so his prescription is simple: ACT. It doesn’t matter what is happening in your life or how you feel. Just ACT … and you will … without a doubt … feel better.

It’s just one of ten attitude building skills I teach in my keynote and seminar on UP Your Attitude. If you would like to know more about the program, click here

or give me a call.

And then…

► 2.Shake off the negative influences of others.


If you’re not careful, other people’s pessimism can bring you down big time. You know what I’m talking about … if you have a coworker or partner who’s always critiquing your optimism. They may tell you that you’re naive when you fail to see the world as a miserable, terrible place.

Don’t let the other person steal your joy. Take Robert’s approach. Robert always smiles — even when the customers complain at the small cafe where he works. Breakfast crowds, lunch crowds, Robert meets all of them with his kind manner and positive attitude.

When I asked about his secret, what made him stay so calm and upbeat under the most stressful of circumstances, Robert replied, “I don’t let anyone steal MY joy.” He said, “The world didn’t give it to me, and the world can’t take it away. That’s MY joy.”

► 3. Keep your optimism and pessimism balanced.


The truth is you’ve got to have a balance … with a powerful, motivating, energizing optimism on the one hand … and an ability to size up a situation on the other. After all, some people do confuse high degrees of optimism with unrealistic hot air.

Such was the case with one job applicant who was being interviewed for a sales position. The applicant got off to a bad start when he demanded a high salary before he and the manager even discussed the applicant’s experience and skills. Things didn’t get better when the manager noticed that the applicant had very little sales experience of any kind.

The manager said, “I’m surprised that you have the nerve to ask for such a large salary when you’ve never done much selling!”

“I’ve always found,” replied the applicant, “that the work is much harder when you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Obviously that applicant didn’t understand what it took to balance his unrealistic ego with realistic optimism. You can do better than that.