Whenever you face a tough decision, keep this in mind.
Pessimism influences our decisions more than optimism.
That’s because pessimism, in the form of fear, weakness, and doubt often colors our perception of choices and leads us to make wrong decisions.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Incorporating optimism into our analysis of a issue permits us to more accurately assess it and make better choices.
Here are a couple of simple approaches to be sure that your decisions are not skewed by a pessimistic outlook.
Assume success, not failure
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking only about what may turn out badly when we make a decision.
We focus on what will happen if our choice fails and obsess over how that failure will feel.
However that leads us to make decisions based on our perception of which option is the least painful, as opposed to which is the most rewarding.
Rather, imagine the most ideal result for each choice. If alternative A works out perfectly, what will happen? How will we feel about it? Will we get what we want?
And if alternative B works out great will it make us more or less happy than alternative A?
Analyzing decisions through a prism of potential success in addition to failure presents us a more adjusted depiction of those alternatives.
Look for reasons you can, not reasons you can’t
With any choice we make, it’s easy to list the reasons we can’t make it. But it’s just as simple to list the reasons we can.
We tend to give the reasons we can’t do something more impact when it comes to our final decision, which is risky.
Rather than dwelling on why a choice isn’t right for us, we can flip it around and ask, “Why NOT me?”
Why can’t I be the kind of person who makes that choice? And why can’t I be the person that takes the risk? Why can’t I be the person that succeeds?
The reasons we can’t choose something are only valid if we also take into account the reasons we can and recognize they’re just as valid.
Trust that you won’t fall off a cliff
Our internal worry implies a wrong decision won’t simply bring in a minor fender-bender. It will send our lives careening over a cliff and crashing down in a fiery blaze.
But that’s not true.
Wrong choices rarely damage us as much as our pessimistic result predicts.
We need to counter our fear with optimism and tell to ourselves that even if we make a wrong choice, we’ll be able to recognize it and make things right.
Believe in others
It’s easy to become jaded and suppose people can’t be trusted, that they’ll disappoint us or fail to deliver.
Yet that’s pessimism and not reality.
Instead of allowing our decisions to be influenced by the handful of bad individuals we’ve encountered over the years, choose rather to be influenced by the brilliant individuals we’ve encountered.
And those brilliant individuals are the majority — even if at times it may not feel like it.
An optimistic view of human nature serves us well with regards to deciding.
Because more often than not, people rise or fall to the expectations we place on them.
If we expect the worst of them, we definitely treat them as such and receive that same treatment in return.
But if we give them the benefit of the doubt and make decisions based on that logic, more often than not it will work out in our favor.
At least that’s what I choose to believe, because I’m an optimist.