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The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results

Book Description

Sharpen your skills and shape attitudes to achieve high levels of success personally and professionally

The Optimism Advantage offers tangible, proven techniques for turning life's obstacles into opportunities with confidence and competence. Today's economy offers plenty of reasons to feel powerless and frustrated. But why would you, when it offers just as many reasons to be optimistic, resourceful, and persistent? After all, adversity is everywhere...but it's how you handle adversity that makes the difference in your personal and professional life.

Each chapter provides new ways to sharpen your own skills and help others to face ever-present organizational and personal challenges with the kind of positive attitude that leads to resilience and results.

  • Presents important truths for maintaining your sanity and effectiveness during times of economic or organizational turmoil

  • Shows you how to turn yourself into a valuable, recyclable asset, rather than a disposable "employee"

  • Author Terry Paulson is a preeminent expert on the human side of optimism and a powerful, renowned professional speaker

The Optimism Advantage offers much needed relief, hope, and practical tools for everyone who feels trapped and powerless in the face of current economic conditions.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  3. 1. Trade Being Your Own Worst Enemy to Become Your Own Best Supporter
    1. 1.1. Truth #1: Life Is Difficult
    2. 1.2. Life Is a Self-Help Project, but You're Not Working on It Alone
    3. 1.3. Optimists Everywhere Claim Their Version of the American Dream
    4. 1.4. Choose Learned Optimism over Learned Helplessness
    5. 1.5. The Study of Optimism and a New Emphasis on Positive Psychology
    6. 1.6. Star in Your Own Positive Soap Opera
    7. 1.7. Truth #2: Control What You Can, and Accept and Use What You Can't
    8. 1.8. Optimism Is Important on and off the Job
    9. 1.9. Faith and Faith Communities Can Impact Your Optimism
    10. 1.10. Don't Just Read This Book—Devour It
  4. 2. Deal with the Hand You're Dealt
    1. 2.1. Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
    2. 2.2. Find Perspective and Get on with Life
    3. 2.3. Disappointment Can Launch New Dreams
    4. 2.4. Truth #3: Face the Brutal Reality but Never Lose Faith
    5. 2.5. Beware of the Status Quo
    6. 2.6. Your Wonderful Life Is Also Filled with Happy Accidents
    7. 2.7. Truth #4: This Too Shall Pass
    8. 2.8. Overall . . . It's a Pretty Good Life
  5. 3. Your Choice: Victim or Resilient Survivor
    1. 3.1. Truth #5: Be a Resilient Survivor No Matter What You Face
    2. 3.2. Truth #6: Don't Just Watch Negative News; Get Busy Making Your Own
    3. 3.3. Simpler Times Made for a Powerful People
    4. 3.4. Optimists Still Make a Difference Today
    5. 3.5. Stop Blaming and Start Helping
    6. 3.6. The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks Unleashed the Resilient Spirit of a Country
    7. 3.7. Truth #7: Be Patient Active and Risk Thriving in Pursuit of Health
    8. 3.8. Truth #8: No Dream Will Work Unless You Do
    9. 3.9. Truth #9: Unleash the Power of Optimistic Stories and Positive Gossip
    10. 3.10. Don't Just Survive . . . Thrive
  6. 4. The Optimistic Power of Purpose
    1. 4.1. Purpose and Optimism Come from a Heart of Service
    2. 4.2. Truth #10: Live a Mission That Taps Your Purpose, and Work Ceases to Be Work
    3. 4.3. Truth #11: Risk Becoming the Architect of Your Own Future
    4. 4.4. Identifying and Using Your Purpose in Support of a Meaningful Mission
    5. 4.5. Significant Life Events Shape Our Sense of Purpose
    6. 4.6. Faith Is a Powerful Source of Purpose and Meaning
    7. 4.7. Secular Service Also Provides Meaning for Many
    8. 4.8. A Sense of Purpose Promotes a Hardy Lifestyle and Meaning
  7. 5. Optimists Update Their Gifts into Recyclable Assets
    1. 5.1. Truth #12: Be a Lifelong Learner by Updating Your Gifts into Recyclable Assets
    2. 5.2. Ride Trends in the Direction They Are Going
    3. 5.3. Use Training as a Strategic Advantage
    4. 5.4. Truth #13: Always Have a Could Do Next" Plan
    5. 5.5. You're Going to Be Forty-five Anyway
    6. 5.6. When Attitude, Skills, and Opportunity Come Together, Mastery and Magic Happen
    7. 5.7. Finding a Career That Matches Your Dream
    8. 5.8. Beat Your Impostor Feelings on the Road to Lifelong Learning
    9. 5.9. Truth #14: You Become an Old Dog When You Stop Doing New Tricks
  8. 6. Your Health Habits Impact Your Attitude
    1. 6.1. Eat Less and Exercise More
    2. 6.2. Optimists Want a Body Ready for Action
    3. 6.3. The Exercise Attitude Connection
    4. 6.4. Truth #15: Eat Smart—Make Progress Not Perfection
    5. 6.5. Truth #16: The Only Good Exercise Plan Is One You Do Consistently
    6. 6.6. Take Care of Your Body—It Will Help Take Care of You
  9. 7. Optimists Embrace Action
    1. 7.1. Truth #17: Get out of the Rearview Mirror and Move into the Choices out Your Front Window
    2. 7.2. Truth #18: You Miss 100 Percent of the Shots You Never Take
    3. 7.3. Truth #19: Life Works Best with the Three P's of Optimism—Position, Perform, and Persist
    4. 7.4. Truth #20: Act Fast with Focus and Flexibility to Make Change Work
    5. 7.5. Ready, Fire, Aim—Feisty Prototypers Win the Day
    6. 7.6. Now Is the Time for Action—Not Perfection
  10. 8. Optimists Dispute Catastrophic Thoughts
    1. 8.1. The Heart of the Optimism Technique
    2. 8.2. Truth #21: Master the ABCs of Optimistic Self-Talk—Adversity, Beliefs, and Consequences
    3. 8.3. The Gift of Distraction and Taking Distance
    4. 8.4. Truth #22: Win the Argument with Your Negative Beliefs to Change Your Attitude and Your Actions
    5. 8.5. Evidence—Only the Facts!
    6. 8.6. Alternatives—Seek Less Self-Destructive Explanations
    7. 8.7. Implications—Realistic Likely Consequences
    8. 8.8. Usefulness—Will Worry Work?
    9. 8.9. Faith—Search for God's Open Door
    10. 8.10. Reframe Your Beliefs to Help You Overcome Adversity
    11. 8.11. Truth #23: Experience Is What You Do with What Happens to You
    12. 8.12. Look for the Gifts in Your Adversity
  11. 9. Optimists Give Thanks for Gratitude
    1. 9.1. Avoid Pits People and the Complain Game
    2. 9.2. Truth #24: Turn Happy Accidents into Tomorrow's Innovations
    3. 9.3. Truth #25: Hope for More, but Never Be Thrown by Less
    4. 9.4. Live Simply and Focus on What You Have
    5. 9.5. Truth #26: Rejoice in the Gift of Every Day
    6. 9.6. Truth #27: Be Grateful for the People Who Make the Ride Worthwhile
    7. 9.7. Handling What Comes Your Way and Making Things Go Your Way
  12. 10. Optimists Provide Constructive Self-Criticism
    1. 10.1. Truth #28: The More Mistakes You Make, the Quicker You Learn
    2. 10.2. Your Worst Critic May Be Sitting in Your Seat
    3. 10.3. Majoring in Self-Criticism Leaves You Needing the Support of Others
    4. 10.4. Truth #29: Love Yourself as You Do Your Loved Ones, Neighbors, and Colleagues
    5. 10.5. Truth #30: When Self-Critical, Avoid General Labels and Focus on Specific Feedback
    6. 10.6. Truth #31: Claim Optimism by Making Your Future Work
    7. 10.7. Make It Safe to Surface Problems Quickly by Doing It Yourself First
    8. 10.8. Don't Just Admit Your Mistakes—Learn from Them
      1. 10.8.1. Appropriate Self-Criticism:
    9. 10.9. Mistakes Are Tough but Essential Teachers
  13. 11. Managing Your Own Motivation Means Catching Yourself Being Effective
    1. 11.1. Needing the Support of Others Leaves You Dependent Instead of Confident
    2. 11.2. Truth #32: When You Cannot Get a Compliment Any Other Way, Give Yourself One
    3. 11.3. What's Working for You?
      1. 11.3.1. Your Self-Support Strategy
    4. 11.4. Self-Confidence Is Not Self-Delusion
    5. 11.5. Humility Is Strength with Gentleness
    6. 11.6. Truth #33: Lead in a Way That Instills Confidence in Others
    7. 11.7. Care about How You View Yourself
  14. 12. Simple Pleasures: The Optimist's Wild Card
    1. 12.1. Truth #34: Engage in Simple Pleasures That Impact Your Attitude
    2. 12.2. Simple Pleasures Are Simple and Often Inexpensive
    3. 12.3. Simple Pleasures Often Find You
    4. 12.4. Taking Nature for a Ride on the Wild Side
    5. 12.5. Needlepoint and Other Therapeutic Pleasures
    6. 12.6. Truth #35: Find the Music That Makes Your Soul and Attitude Sing
    7. 12.7. Truth #36: Turn the Love of a Pet into a Health Break and Attitude Boost
    8. 12.8. Truth #37: Reading Opens You to New Worlds and Provides a Mental Recess
    9. 12.9. You Don't Remember Days—You Remember Moments
    10. 12.10. The Power of a List of Memories
  15. 13. Humor Is the Joker in the Hand of Life
    1. 13.1. Truth #38: Use Humor as an Ever-Present Stress Breaker You Control
    2. 13.2. Not All Humor Works to Produce Optimism
    3. 13.3. Truth #39: Take Your Life and Work Seriously, but Take Yourself Lightly
    4. 13.4. Teams Work Better with Humor as a Social Lubricant and Attitude Adjuster
    5. 13.5. Truth #40: Cultivate Humorous One-Liners That Invite Laughter into Your Life
    6. 13.6. Developing Your Sense of Humor Takes Work
    7. 13.7. Truth #41: Stretch Your Humor Muscles Daily
    8. 13.8. Keep Your Optimism Laced with Laughter
  16. 14. Build an Optimistic Network that Works
    1. 14.1. Truth #42: Thank the People Who Have Helped and Encouraged You
    2. 14.2. Truth #43: Put Your Calendar Where Your Priorities Are
    3. 14.3. Good Relationships Promote Health, Happiness, and Optimism
    4. 14.4. Truth #44: Avoid Pits People and Worrywarts!
    5. 14.5. Truth #45: Fill Your Village with People Who Make a Difference
    6. 14.6. There's More to Connection Than Cyberspace
    7. 14.7. Coming to Grips with Your Own Relationship Deficits
    8. 14.8. Networking with Integrity Makes Relationships Work
    9. 14.9. Truth #46: Renew and Revitalize Your Most Valued Relationships
    10. 14.10. Use Relationships as an Optimism Advantage
  17. 15. How to Become Optimistic in Life . . . By Really Trying
    1. 15.1. You Want More Than Insights—You Want Changes That Last
    2. 15.2. Truth #47: Making Changes That Last Is All about Focusing Your Goals
    3. 15.3. Use Your Calendar to Support Change
    4. 15.4. Move from Focus to Stepped Progress
    5. 15.5. Involve Your Buddies, Bosses, and Cheerleaders
    6. 15.6. Truth #48: Use the Rehearsal Studio of Your Mind to Support Positive Change
    7. 15.7. Bounce Back Quickly from Lapses with Resolve and Determination
    8. 15.8. Truth #49: Nurture New Learning in Support of Your Change Goals
    9. 15.9. Try a Dose of Inspiring Stories of Courage and Change
    10. 15.10. Don't Forget to Reward and Celebrate Your Own Progress
    11. 15.11. Truth #50: Never Give Up on Becoming the Optimistic Person You Want to Be
    12. 15.12. Make Every Day Count to Become the Best You Can Be
  18. RESOURCES
  19. ABOUT THE AUTHOR