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What is positivity?

by | Jan 15, 2021

What is positivity? Quite simply, it’s the tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude. I’m not talking all pretty Pollyanna here, folks. In no way am I encouraging you to be excessively cheerful or blindly optimistic. But have you noticed some people seem to be naturally more optimistic than others. No matter what fate throws at them, they’re not defeated or angry. They don’t get bitter or even stay down for long. So, what is it about someone that means they don’t get crushed by adversity?

It comes down to mindset.

Let’s be real, everyone has bad stuff happen in their life. It’s part of being human. But where some people feel overwhelmed by events, others stay relatively cheerful through bad times, even seriously bad times like being laid off or going through a divorce. These people are optimists.

Positivity means finding the best in every situation and expecting good things to happen regardless of what’s going on right now. There is a belief that what lies on the other side of this clusterflop (that’s what it’s called when a movie is edited for TV 😊) is going to be great. Research shows that optimism can have a positive impact on all areas of your life, from strengthening the immune system to reducing your risk of anxiety and depression, even having a longer life.


  • Don’t blame themselves when things go wrong
  • Focus on the present and future, and don’t dwell on past hurts
  • Expect good things to happen to them
  • Believe they are responsible for their happiness


You might be thinking that positivity is innate: that you’re either an optimist or a pessimist. Jiminy Cricket or Eeyore. But optimism or pessimism stems from your self-talk, how you react to things, what you expect, and your self-image. The messages we received back in early childhood influence this. Were you told you were selfish or lazy or no good at math? The feedback that you got about yourself and the world (whether it is a safe or dangerous place) shape your expectations into adulthood.

Now,  because these messages are not you, you can change them. You can reset your pessimistic mindset and become more optimistic by reframing your experiences. If something goes wrong, instead of dwelling on the failure and making it personal, try to be objective and analyze what happened. Did someone else make a decision that impacted whether your project was successful or not? What did you learn from the experience?

I never lose. I either win or learn. – Nelson Mandela

Optimists don’t stay stuck in the past. If something doesn’t work out the way they thought it would, they move on, confident that success and abundance are just around the corner. Optimists are grateful for the good in their lives right now. They know that there is more than enough to go around, and they understand that the world is full of opportunities for everyone.

You have the power to change your mindset. If you have tended to look on the gloomy side or feel that life is unfair, and you feel powerless, think about positivity as another skill you can learn. Optimism is a skill of emotional intelligence, a learned habit, and it’s a skill you can start to develop right now.


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