There’s a lot to be said for having an optimistic outlook in life.
For starters, research has shown that optimistic people tend to be happier, healthier, and more successful.
Recent studies have suggested that having an optimistic outlook on life is around 25% in the genes.
That means some of us are simply more naturally optimistic than others.
Here are the strong signs that you are one of them…
1) You feel positive about the future
One of the best blessings of being a naturally optimistic person is hope.
When you think about what’s to come in life you feel good.
You’re excited about what’s in store.
Rather than feel dread or fear about the blank page in front of you, you are enthusiastic about the unknown.
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.
Natural optimists are good at believing not only in the beauty of their dreams but also in themselves.
2) You feel good about yourself
This one can be challenging at times, even for a natural optimist.
Sadly, we can all beat ourselves up or feel not good enough sometimes.
But natural optimists are far better at being on their own side in life.
They put all that positivity to good use by becoming their own cheerleader. They shout down their negative inner critic.
They shower themselves with positive praise, self-recognition, and self-validation.
And that all helps to boost their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Ultimately, a natural optimist’s positive attitude extends to themselves as much as it does to the world around them.
3) You know you can handle what life throws at you
We’re all human. So it’s natural that when bad things happen, it hurts.
Being optimistic doesn’t stop that.
But here’s what it does do:
It means that you feel more confident in dealing with whatever comes your way.
Rather than catastrophize, you prefer to rationalize.
You know that one bad thing doesn’t dictate your entire future.
Optimism helps strengthen your resilience because you know it will all be ok.
You can take the knocks. And your natural optimism means you find it easier to get back up again.
4) You realize your potential for growth is endless
The power of optimism drives a growth mindset.
So natural optimists often believe that what they can already do and what they already know can always be developed.
They recognize that brains or talent are just a starting point.
The rest is achieved through dedication and putting in the work.
If it ever looks like optimistic people live a more charmed life, never underestimate that is down to their own efforts.
As highlighted in Harvard Business Review:
“They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning.”
This approach to learning gives natural optimists a very valuable skill, as we’ll see next.
5) You learn lessons from your mistakes
That growth mindset helps natural optimists to bounce back from failure rather than dwell on it.
Optimists recognize that mistakes are an unavoidable part of life, learning, and growth.
So rather than be discouraged by your errors, you know that you can use them.
Instead of focusing on disaster, you try to glean the important lessons for next time.
Because you know these are what will take you closer to success.
6) You use painful events to grow
As the saying goes:
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
And that’s the attitude of an optimistic person.
But here’s the thing:
It’s not that optimistic people don’t know that lemons are sour. They taste that initial bitterness just like anyone else does.
Being optimistic isn’t about being ignorant of the pains of life.
It’s about what you choose to do with that pain afterward.
And rather than wallow in it, optimists want to use it.
If you are naturally optimistic you probably have realized by now that even the worst experiences can become learning opportunities.
They can shape us into smarter, wiser, and stronger people.
Optimistic people use the manure life occasionally throws at them as potent fertilizer to grow.
7) You have a can-do attitude
You’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put the work in.
When an opportunity comes knocking, you are enthusiastic about going for it.
When life challenges you, you get to work to find solutions.
Rather than waste time focusing on the problems, you’re all about possibilities.
The word impossible doesn’t really feature in your vocabulary. Because you believe that anything is doable.
…And even if it isn’t you are going to give it your best shot.
8) You look for the best in people
When a naturally optimistic person meets someone new, they treat them as a friend and ally.
They assume that this person can be a positive force for good in their life.
Rather than expecting someone to prove themselves, they already assume they have value. And they actively look for that value.
Now some may call this “too trusting”, but it’s not.
As long as you have strong boundaries, looking for the best in people doesn’t harm you. What’s more, it can bring out the best in others too.
In fact, it’s one of the reasons why optimists enjoy better relationships with other people.
Yes, occasionally you may be disappointed.
But ultimately giving people the benefit of the doubt makes you a positive influence in their lives and helps you to effortlessly grow your network.
9) You always assume that things will work out for the best
Optimism isn’t naivety.
But the more cynical people in your life might mistake your optimism for that at times.
But they are missing the point.
Assuming things always work out for the best isn’t naivety. It is giving yourself the gift of peace of mind.
The reality is that we cannot control many events in life.
Expecting the worst only brings anxiety, stress, and sadness.
When you assume that things happen for the best, you’re simply accepting reality rather than fighting against it.
And it’s this resistance to reality that usually causes most of our suffering.
By saying “it’s all for the best” you make peace with what already is in life.
And as we’ll see next, this attitude helps you to adapt.
10) You’re quickly able to adapt
Most of us learn pretty quickly in life that we cannot control what’s going to happen.
Change is inevitable.
It can also be daunting or downright scary.
But natural optimists are better at navigating change. Their positivity gives them an extra defense over uncertainties.
One study found that optimistic students who were about to embark upon University after finishing high school adapted far better.
They were less stressed, anxious, and uncertain about the transition. They also enjoyed a more successful first year.
11) You feel really grateful for everything you have
Optimists are simply very good at focusing their attention on the half of the glass that’s full.
Rather than look longingly at the empty half of their cup, they acknowledge how it is already flowing over with riches.
You are a natural optimist if a gratitude attitude is something that comes easily to you.
You don’t have to remind yourself of all your blessing (although you frequently do anyway!) you already feel a deep gratitude for them.
You pay attention to the people and things you feel truly thankful for.
Just like optimism, gratitude has also been linked with greater happiness, health, stronger relationships and better dealing with adversity.
12) You don’t take things personally
Whether you just got dumped or you were overlooked for that promotion — you don’t take it quite so personally.
Sure, it’s disappointing. But you don’t internalize that natural disappointment and turn it on yourself.
You recognize that these things happen in life, to all of us. It’s not some terrible reflection of you per se.
When someone is rude to you, your first assumption is that they’re probably just having a bad day.
Your optimism allows you to detach from assuming everything is about you.
Final thoughts: We can all become more optimistic
Whether you are naturally optimistic or not, we all have the potential to build a more optimistic outlook.
I know this first hand.
Because sadly I was not one of those people who were born happy-go-lucky. But I am now most certainly an optimist.
I had to change my own outlook slowly over time in order to shift from pessimism to optimism.
As I pointed out in the introduction, 25% of our optimism might well be genetic.
Meanwhile, other factors can influence our natural positivity that we have little control over. For example, things like our social economic status.
But here’s the thing:
That still means a sizable chunk of our potential for optimism is determined by ourselves.
So regardless of how optimistic you already are or not, you always have room to grow your optimism.
The power lies in your hands.