You know what it is like to be alone. The optimist is often isolated: While others give their rationale for why we will fail and how bad things are becoming, you are the one who looks forward, sees possibilities and reasons for confidence.

What differentiates an optimist from a pessimist (and their cynical cousin) is the awareness to ask this question: Is what I’m choosing to believe productive?

For example, deciding to believe “that group of people” cannot be trusted is useful for the pessimist. It enables them to blame others and deny any responsibility. The optimist, on the other hand, assumes that under the right conditions most everyone can be trusted; then, they work diligently to create those requirements.

Where optimists get into trouble is when they share their belief of favorable outcomes without providing evidence to support their claim. Without data to support their rational for positivity, skeptics and pessimists leap to denounce or criticize the vision of the optimists. They must do this for many reasons, including preserving the status quo.

An evidence-based approach to optimism breeds confidence. It sends a signal to others that you are not operating on blind faith or merely hope. It also communicates that your vision is worthy of following.



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