When it comes to defining FabYOUlousness there are so many different facets of life to consider. Relationships, careers, health, education…the list is endless and it varies from person to person depending upon one’s own personal values and overall vision for one’s life. When all is said and done however; FabYOUlousness basically boils down to an individual’s sense of authenticity and contentment.
Decades of research indicate that true FabYOUlousness stems from cultivating twelve distinct traits that enable one to navigate life’s rough patches with greater ease, enjoy life’s pleasurable moments more fully and feel content regardless of circumstances. Though this might sound like a tall order, the good news is that most of us already possess each of these twelve traits to some degree–it’s just a matter of learning to tap into them more consistently. For the next twelve months, we will be focusing on one of these FabYOUlousness factors per month in an effort to harness its power and to build a solid foundation of FabYOUlousness. The first FabYOUlous Factor that we will focus on in our series is OPTIMISM.
FabYOUlous Factor #1: OPTIMISM
Numerous studies have been conducted to determine whether or not a positive, optimistic outlook on life truly makes a difference regarding one’s overall health and well being or is it all just a bunch of (optimistic) hype. Well, the verdict is in and the answer is absolute–an optimistic outlook does in fact lead to higher levels of FabYOUlousness. The benefits of optimism are seen in an individual’s emotional and physical health. An important study out of the University of Helsinki, has shown that optimistic individuals are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure or other early signs of cardiovascular disease than their pessimistic counterparts. Additionally, according to Dan Baker Ph.D. and coauthor of the book, What Happy People Know (Rodale, 2004) optimism helps to “minimize fears about the future that could otherwise become debilitating, allowing you to move past them more quickly and ultimately lead a more carefree life.”
A surprising study from the University of Massachusetts found that accident victims who had suddenly become paralyzed were more hopeful about the future than were lottery winners. As incredulous as this seems, the study shows that surviving a tragedy allowed the accident victims to see that most of the things in life that get us down, aren’t really worth fretting over. This in turn, provided them with a paradigm shift that allowed them to experience life more optimistically. We can experience this same type of shift ourselves without going through the trauma of a tragedy if we can begin to take stock of how past negative experiences may have actually benefited us in the long run. For example; perhaps being stood up by a romantic partner led you to share a cab home with someone who later became a successful business partner and helped you to gain financial abundance which then allowed you to travel to Europe where you met and fell in love with your true soul mate. Remembering the ways in which we have benefited from our struggles and approaching every potentially negative situation with an open and eager mind primes us to begin seeing the potential upside in every situation.
Even if you tend to have a more pessimistic bent to your personality, optimism is something that can be learned. Try these four tips for bringing more optimism into your life…
Four Ways to Cultivate a More Optimistic Attitude
1.) Notice and acknowledge serendipity. I don’t believe in luck–well, let me rephrase that…I believe that each and every one of us creates our own luck. We do this by preparing ourselves and being open to new opportunities that cross our paths. I truly believe (and have seen it manifested in my own life too many times to discount) that the universe is on our side and conspires with us to create a FabYOUlous existence. Those moments when things just happen to come together at the exact right time or you bump into the exact right person, may seem like they are simply coincidental happenstance–but perhaps it’s really the universe’s way of signaling to you that you are on the right path. In order to grow your optimism, take note of these instances and don’t be surprised that as you start to acknowledge them, more and more serendipitous moments will begin to take place in your life–which will, in turn, feed your optimism and create a continuous cycle of positivity.
2.) Prepare for good things to happen. We don’t always know when fate is going to smile upon us, but we can take steps to make sure that we are prepared for the moment when it arrives. Optimists make the most of everyday, ordinary circumstances and are often able to turn those ordinary moments into extraordinary events. A pessimist might view a long line at the Post Office as an added delay to an already busy day while an optimist will see it as a time to meet some interesting new people. We can learn to become more optimistic by making sure that we are prepared to grab hold of opportunities that come our way. This preparation can take the form of educating ourselves on topics that interest us, expanding our professional and personal networks, staying on top of current events and trends and cultivating our creativity so that we are more prone to looking for “out of the box” solutions to problems. Engaging ourselves in activities that help us to stay sharp, connected, relevant and flexible will help us to keep our pumps primed and ready to recognize and capitalize upon positive opportunities that come our way. Pessimism shuts us off and blinds us to the potential good that surrounds us while optimism opens us up to all manner of positive experiences and opportunities.
3.) Say yes. Have you seen the movie “Yes Man” starring Jim Carrey? If not–definitely Netflix it and give it a watch–it’s hilarious. If you have seen it, don’t worry–I’m not here to tell you that you should say yes to everything; I mean who has time for that? I am however suggesting that saying yes more often to things that are a little outside of our regular routine or comfort zone can help us to grow our optimism muscle. This happens because saying yes to new experiences causes our world to expand. We meet new people, experience new sensations and uncover new talents or interests. Growing in these ways brings us into contact with opportunities that would otherwise fall outside of our realm of influence and therefore allows us to experience more enjoyment, thus boosting our levels of optimism.
4.) Don’t run from failure. No matter how optimistic we are, there are times when things just don’t work out. In fact, optimists probably experience more failures throughout life than pessimists do simply because optimists are, by nature, more willing to take risks and try new things. In the eyes of an optimist, failure isn’t fatal–it is simply another step on the road to success and an opportunity to learn. When we are able to embrace failure without becoming defeated or defined by it, we can make great progress in our efforts to adopt an optimistic lifestyle because optimism is what prevents us from taking failure personally and what allows us to frame failure in such a way that we view it as something that will ultimately lead us on to our highest good.
Learning to become more optimistic is one important step along our road to FabYOUlousness but it isn’t the only step. Check back each month as we cover one of the twelve FabYOulous Factors each month for a year. Next month’s FabYOUlous Factor will be Choice.