The Olympic Effect: Tuning Into Optimism
If you’ve been following the Olympic games you may have felt yourself caught up in the wave of optimism accompanying it? Even if you haven’t you can’t have failed to see the positive mood the games seems to produce in so many people.
I live and work in the United Kingdom and since the start of the games the National mood has been steadily climbing. It’s been interesting listening to various commentators, both in the run up to the opening ceremony and since. From the outset a few were determined that this would be the greatest thing on the planet and they were sick and tired of all the pessimists who were talking it down. Many in the middle appeared to worry. They hoped things would work out but their reports were laced with last minute problems, political gaffs, issues with ticket sales and security concerns, to name just a few. Then of course we had the outright pessimists, firm in their conviction that the country was inviting the world to watch an embarrassing disaster: a costly error in a time of austerity that should never be happening.
In the space of a week the tables have turned on the pessimists, or at least the volume of cheers and well wishing that have followed the athletes from all nations has drowned their voices out. Those sitting on the fence have been caught up in the mood and even the news channels are leading with uplifting stories.
I don’t know about other countries but I do know my own was ready for a large injection of uplift. It’s been years since we’ve had anything to shout about and the Olympic games have provided the opportunity. Truth be told, I’m not a huge sports fan. I understand and appreciate the dedication, time and training athletes put in to their chosen activity, but it still baffles me where the motivation comes from to get up at dawn and train for hours each day, for years at a time. Equally, I don’t see myself as an outright optimist, not in the full-on nature of optimism that is, but I can feel how infectious it is and that it does lift the spirits.
For many people pessimism lurks in the background and feeds low moods. It’s such an easy emotion to trigger. It spills into the things we say and affects those around us too. The odd thing is the way so few of us challenge pessimism. If you know you’re prone to pessimism and you know it wears you down and you’d like to change, perhaps a good starting point is to identify why you’re a pessimistic thinker. Do you expect to be hurt or disappointed? Does your pessimism act as a shield or some form of protection in this regard? Does it actually work for you and if you think it does, how can you prove it to yourself? A pessimistic mindset isn’t easy to get out of, but you can learn how. Read How to Become an Optimist.