The power of optimism in feeling positive

Feb 15, 2016 by Rob Gannon

Well, it’s February. How is 2016 going so far? Maybe it’s going great, maybe not so great. If present circumstances appear quite a ways from ideal, we can really help ourselves along if we can guide our feelings and beliefs with optimism.

Now don’t worry, this is not intended as some cheery, rah-rah, “just use positive thinking” piece. I’m going to go a little deeper than that.

Let me start by addressing positive thinking. It’s great, if we really believe our positive thoughts. But if we just use words without the power of belief and optimism behind them, they are just words. Don’t get me wrong, as a coach and someone who has been immersed in the study of personal growth for the past decade, I’m not knocking positive thinking. But it needs to be backed with positive energy.

Advancements in the understanding of quantum physics have shown us that this is a vibrational universe. There are higher, faster-moving, more positive vibrations and lower, slower-moving, negative vibrations. If we don’t have the higher vibes behind our positive thinking, we are spinning our wheels, not getting any real traction to move toward our desired life.

So what are the ingredients behind positive words?

Optimism and believing are a great place to start. Studies have shown that those who approach tough circumstances and challenges with optimism have a much better chance of following through and getting to their desired state than the pessimist or worse, someone with a victim mentality.

Optimism acts like a fresh breeze that lifts our sails on a new course and keeps us under way. Also, it also can be learned, and that’s good news. We are not born a pessimist. It’s a pattern of thinking we develop over time. It can be changed. Raise awareness around those pessimistic, negative thoughts, and throw them overboard. We can turn ourselves into optimists with practice with our thoughts. Once we see results, that’s it. Conversion made.

Let me be clear: this optimism I’m writing about isn’t some delusional, wide-eyed optimism based in denial. It’s more like solid, realistic optimism. In other words, a solid plan or vision has been clearly laid out, and we truly believe we are capable of moving into this vision. So what we have is belief driving the optimism that is fueling the positive thoughts. It’s really a winning formula that’s been proven time and time again. I’ve seen it in my own life and in the lives of many others.

Another valuable factor to add in here is the sincere encouragement of others. Having someone or a number of people believing and encouraging us definitely helps us along in our optimistic flow. It’s like a favorable current moving our ship along. We can move without it, but it sure is nice to have. We acquire a self-confident optimism, in part, from experiencing the confidence and hope others have in us and by receiving their encouragement. Think about how much tougher it is when we get the opposite. When family or close friends are discouraging and tell us we can’t do something, it feels awful and has sabotaged many a dream. We must take care who we let in our heads.

All of this may sound fairly easy if things are going well, but some of us struggle, perhaps with work, tough financial factors or other challenges. That is exactly the time to work on optimism. Some days may be dark, and seeing through the storm clouds may be tough, but if we ride it out and get back to our believing and our optimism, it will carry us over the stormy seas. We just have to hang in there.

I hope this helps anyone out there who may struggle with staying positive. Just try to remember the alternative to optimism and belief — pessimism and hopelessness — never gets us anywhere worth going. Keep the inner flame burning for that desired life, and use it to keep the naysayers at bay. You are amazing and powerful with that dream in sight. Keep sailing in that direction. Enjoy the voyage.

Capt. Rob Gannon is a 30-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach. Contact him through