The Optimist Challenge (Update)

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I promised that I would report back on Memorial Day Weekend re: the Optimist Challenge, and here it is Father's Day.

Public accountability is a beautiful thing — except when it's not.

Here's what I committed to do for one month:

  1. Wake up and write down what I am worrying about — just the facts.
  2. Write down the story I am telling myself about the facts.
  3. Work to write the most conceivably optimistic story I can tell myself based on the same incontrovertible facts.

Here's what I can report:

  1. I completed the actual exercise 2-3x a week, less than I aspired to do, more than I would have otherwise done.
  2. I was overly optimistic about my ability to be optimistic.
  3. What I think I'm pessimistic about can be symptomatic:  I often need to peel the onion some before discovering why I'm really pessimistic.
  4. Even when I didn't write things down, I observed myself a lot, my patterns of thinking — revealing.
  5. On the days when I wrote an optimist's version, I felt immediately more sunny, and physically more energetic — staggeringly so.


Because this is something new to me, baby steps seem to be required.  So, I'm going to provide another update on July 3, compress the timeframe.

In the meantime, here is some of what I've been reading/thinking on the topic:

Seth Godin's Linchpin:  I especially love page 127 — Signs that your lizard brain is at work.  Here's a YouTube video preview of his book.

For something totally different and more personal, read Laurel Christensen's blog post: Optimist Experiment

Or, organizational psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson's Be an Optimist Without Being a Fool.


For those of you that took this Challenge, what have you learned?  Or in the words of Tom DeLong, have you, as have I, had the opportunity to do poorly along your way to doing well?

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