Student Support Services: Embracing Optimism

By Fred Standil
Student Services Advisor at Herzing College

Given the abundance of negative messages that we consume on a daily basis, I would like to suggest that there are ways to craft our own personal perspectives on the world in which we live.

Optimism is one of the most beneficial qualities a human being can display. Some folks call it “seeing the glass as being half full.”

Some people are naturally predisposed to see things through a positive or hopeful perspective. That said, all of us can work at being more optimistic.

This is not easy. We must be mindful of who we are, how we present ourselves to the world, and what our core values say about us.

Many people are simply reactive. They respond to life without much in the way of forethought.

I am not suggesting you lose any natural spontaneity. I am, however, proposing that we all need to temper our natural instincts and exhibit measured responses when we are challenged with the complexities of life.

Learned optimism is the opposite of learned helplessness. Instead of believing that we are programmed from birth to respond in one way, we can condition ourselves to respond with a positive outlook.

Here is where the work comes in. Pessimism (the opposite of optimism) is the anticipation of negative outcomes. What if we consciously sought out the positive aspects of the issues we face on a daily basis?

I am providing this as food for thought and will re-visit this topic in the future. The list of benefits from approaching life in this manner is a long one.

For now, give some thought to responding to the world in a positive manner when possible. Good breeds good.

In the spirit of optimism, let’s enjoy and anticipate the kinder and gentler climate that Canada has to offer while it is with us.

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