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28 Examples of Optimism

 , October 28, 2019 updated on August 09, 2023
Optimism is the practice of being hopeful by focusing on the potential and positives in a situation. This can be a character trait whereby an individual has an enduring tendency to be optimistic. Optimism can also be a habit, deliberate effort or mood. The following are illustrative examples of optimism.

Abundance Mentality

Abundance mentality is the belief that there is more than enough for everyone such that you are happy to see others succeed. This is the opposite of schadenfreude, or a sense of joy sparked by the misfortunes of others.

Win-Win

A tendency to look for solutions that benefit everyone as opposed to making gains at the expense of others.

Risk Taking

A willingness to take risks.

Optimism Bias

Optimism bias is a tendency to overestimate opportunity and underestimate risk.

Can Do Attitude

A willingness to seize opportunities that present themselves without hesitation. For example, a willingness to accept a work assignment that is a challenge for you that may lead to a promotion.

Naivety

A willingness to believe people and stories that experience might suggest are unworthy of belief. Optimists tend to avoid pessimism and risk being naive as a result.

Silver Lining

The practice of looking for the positive implications of a seemingly negative situation. This is based on the observation that things that feel negative at the time may later be recognized as having pushed you in ways that created wonderful opportunities.

Gratitude

Looking on the positive side of things may create a sense of gratitude whereby an optimist feels a sense of joy for the opportunities they have been given.

Generosity

Generosity whereby an optimist gives to others out of a sense of gratitude for what they have received.

Best of All Possible Worlds

The philosophy that this world is the best possible world that could exist such that seemingly bad things only exist to enrich experience. For example, how could you appreciate water if you had never experienced the pain of thirst?

Wonder

A positive sense of amazement at the world. For example, a sense of wonder at the beauty of an ocean.

Trust

Optimists have a high capacity for trust as they see the positives in others.

Faith

Faith is complete and unconditional trust in someone or something. Optimists often believe that the world is on their side and have faith that things will work out well. In some cases, they attribute this to a philosophy or religious belief.

Idealism

Idealism is the belief that the world is a product of ideas and not the other way around.

Delusion

Strongly holding beliefs that are fully incorrect. For example, the belief that you can fly based on nothing but optimism. This is a dangerous and extreme type of optimism that is destructive.

Illusion of Control

The belief that you can control things that are fully beyond your control. For example, a gambler who believes they can influence their luck with rituals or good luck charms.

Positive Illusions

Viewing yourself and those who are close to you in an unrealistic light. For example, an illusion of superiority whereby an individual views themselves are more talented or high status than others despite no evidence that this is true.

Defensive Pessimism

Defensive pessimism is the directed use of pessimism to validate optimistic ideas. In other words, optimism and pessimism need not be mutually exclusive but rather can be used as different thinking phases. For example, optimism is useful for brainstorming ideas and pessimism is useful for validating a decision or solution. Defensive pessimism can be used to defeat biases related to optimism such as optimism bias, illusion of control and illusion of superiority.

Failure

Optimists may experience a large number of failures due to risk taking and biases related to optimism. This may sound negative but is also a process of creative destruction whereby failures may create new ideas and directions.

Persistence

Failure is often not final and the optimistic may press on for an extend period of time with no results and frequent problems. This posses a problem because it is hard to tell the difference between a period of persistence that brings results and a situation where you are lacking something such that results will never come. This period is known as the trough of sorrow. By pushing themselves through the trough of sorrow, optimists can obtain either spectacular results or tragic failures that consume many years of effort.

Resilience

An failures that an optimist survives will build resilience as optimists bounce back from failure. This may be one reason that children tend to be optimistic as it drives them forward to learn and gain experience.

Forward Thinking

Optimists focus on potential and therefore often think of the future. This may help avoid the common tendency to dwell on a past that can't be changed.

Positive Communication

An ability to communicate information in a positive way. For example, presenting business problems as an opportunity to build out competitive advantages. Positive communication can go too far as wrapping inherently negative information in pleasantries can be perceived negatively.

Positive Assumptions

Optimists try to make positive assumptions about others. For example, if someone is lost an optimist might assume they need help where a cynic assumes they are an idiot.

Positive Intent

There is often great ambiguity in communication such that a single statement can be interpreted as having either positive or negative intent. For example, if somebody says "nice shoes" you might think they are being sarcastic or might think they actually like your shoes. Naturally, optimists tend to assume positive intent. This has several advantages as optimists don't become defensive about innocuous comments. They also may simply be oblivious to passive aggressive insults such that they remain unaffected.

Self Improvement

Some optimists are moving forward too fast to worry about petty insults and jealousy. They may focus on improving themselves as opposed to finding fault in others.

Imagination

Optimism is associated with imagination as optimism may be motivated by an ability to see a rich set of future possibilities.

Creativity

Optimism is a basis for creativity as this requires risk taking, brave experimentation and a willingness to challenge pessimists who tend to defend the status quo.
Overview: Optimism
Type
Definition
The practice of being hopeful by focusing on the potential and positives in a situation.
Related Concepts
Next: Optimistic Drift
More about optimism:
Abductive Reasoning
Abstract Thinking
Abstraction
Aesthetics
Analogy
Analysis Paralysis
Analytical Thinking
Anomie
Argument
Argument From Silence
Arrow Of Time
Assertions
Automaticity
Backward Induction
Base Rate Fallacy
Benefit Of Doubt
Big Picture
Brainstorming
Call To Action
Catch 22
Causality
Choice Architecture
Circular Reasoning
Cognition
Cognitive Abilities
Cognitive Biases
Cold Logic
Collective Intelligence
Complexity Bias
Concept
Consciousness
Constructive Criticism
Convergent Thinking
Counterfactual Thinking
Creative Tension
Creeping Normality
Critical Thinking
Culture
Curse Of Knowledge
Decision Fatigue
Decision Framing
Decision Making
Defensive Pessimism
Design Thinking
Divergent Thinking
Educated Guess
Emotional Intelligence
Epic Meaning
Essential Complexity
Excluded Middle
Failure Of Imagination
Fallacies
Fallacy Fallacy
False Analogy
False Balance
False Dichotomy
False Equivalence
First Principles
Formal Logic
Four Causes
Fuzzy Logic
Gambler's Fallacy
Generalization
Golden Hammer
Good Judgement
Grey Area
Groupthink
Heuristics
Hindsight Bias
Hope
Idealism
Ideas
If-By-Whiskey
Illogical Success
Imagination
Independent Thinking
Inductive Reasoning
Inference
Influencing
Informal Logic
Information
Information Cascade
Introspection
Intuition
Inventive Step
Learning
Lifestyle
Logic
Logical Argument
Logical Thinking
Ludic Fallacy
Magical Thinking
Meaning
Mental Experiences
Mental State
Mindset
Misuse of Statistics
Motivated Reasoning
Natural Language
Nirvana Fallacy
Norms
Not Even Wrong
Objective Reason
Objectivity
Opinion
Overthinking
Perception
Personal Values
Perspective
Positive Thinking
Practical Thinking
Pragmatism
Premise
Problem Solving
Proof By Example
Propositional Logic
Prosecutor's Fallacy
Radical Chic
Rational Thought
Realism
Reality
Reason
Reasoning
Red Herring
Reflective Thinking
Reification
Relativism
Salience
Scarcity Mindset
Scientism
Selective Attention
Serendipity
Situational Awareness
Sour Grapes
State Of Mind
Storytelling
Subjectivity
Systems Thinking
Thinking
Thought Experiment
Unknown Unknowns
Visual Thinking
Want To Believe
Whataboutism
Win-Win Thinking
Wishful Thinking
Worldview
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Positive Bias

An overview of positive bias with examples.

Motivation

An overview of motivation.

Discipline vs Motivation

A comparison of discipline and motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation

The definition of motivation with examples.

Productivity

The basics of productivity.

Mediocrity

The definition of mediocrity with examples.

Esprit De Corps

The definition of esprit de corps with examples.

Morale

The definition of morale with examples.

Expectancy Theory

The definition of expectancy theory with examples.

Extrinsic Motivation

The definition of extrinsic motivation with examples.

Thought Processes

A list of thinking approaches and types.

Nostalgia

An overview of nostalgia with examples.

Intrapersonal

The definition of intrapersonal with examples.

Introspection

The definition of introspection with examples.

Paradox

The definition of paradox with examples.

Skepticism

The definition of skepticism with examples.

Abstract Thinking

The definition of abstract thinking with examples.

Rational Choice Theory

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List Of Emotions

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