Learned Optimism

As I said before I’ve been reading some excellent books recently and listening to Audiobooks in the gym too. It’s really starting to dawn on me that if people wish to achieve the outward manifestations of ‘success’ then the way to do this is to start with improving the self. Improving ones attitude to life, having a burning passion as  one’s objective  and being optimistic   are all valuable life skills. Realising that we who live in this country are already ‘rich’ and have so much money and time to spend on luxuries is another eye opener. What has amazed me the most however is that these skills, beliefs and qualities are not things which simply belong to other people by their good fortune or  the grace of god, they can be LEARNED !

I have read quite a few ‘Self Help’ books now.. the most important thing to remember is that as human beings we have ultimate control over our destinies; the power to shape all of our tomorrows. If we fail to accept  this truth then we risk being caught up in circles of bad habit or en-slaved to live for the goals of others. By knowing what we want in life and focusing our efforts on achieving it, we  become who we want to be, do what we want to do and most importantly feel the emotions, experience the states of emotion that is.. that we ultimately desire. In understanding our values we can uncover our beliefs about what is important to us as individuals, by taken time to think about goals we can create the required discomfort to put wind into the sails of desire, to drive our personal growth .Ultimately  we must draw all our rewards in this life  by serving our fellow people, in the way that we are best able to do .

OK so a lot of the stuff I have been reading is ‘a gallon of clinical lore but only a teaspoonful of research’ but one book which really has struck a chord with me is ‘Learned Optimism’ by Martin Seligman. This book ( the source of my quote ) goes into exquisite detail in describing  optimism, pessimism , depression … their causes, effects and most interestingly, it sets out practical  ways in which people have been scientifically proven to be able to ‘learn optimism’ It strikes me that in this day and age, companies probably are on the look out for optimism as much as any other quality in a candidate. What I’ve also learned is that knowledge is of little value in itself until it is turned to action ! Companies these days are interested in ability and current capability which is largely governed by optimism and desire. Employment history, experience and perhaps academic achievement seem to have taken a back seat even to the extent that they can count against a person. In our new world, which is the ‘financial catastrophe ‘ of a generation what manager can afford to be seen as giving undue credit to a candidate simply because he worked for a prestigious employer ? What value is an there in an encyclopedic knowledge of a specialist subject when a novice may turn to Google and dredge up the same facts ?

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