No one wants to admit she’s not a positive person. I always say I’m a positive thinker until I catch myself being crabby about something that is not mine to even have an opinion about. You know those things…we’ve all got that part of us that goes straight to the negative, which can take its toll mentally and physically.
To that point, one of my favorite authors, Shawn Achor, who wrote The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness , offers “The Optimist Quiz: Are you a Pessimist, Optimist or Realist?” This is from Achor’s article in the December 2016 issue of Success magazine. In sharing it, I thought it would help us reset our starting point for this new year.
This is what he says: “We cannot force others to see the world positively—the ultimate decision rests in their hands. But we can plant seeds of positive realities into their brains. Positive psychology research proves it is easier to sustain our own positive reality and build on our own success when we help others raise their levels of positive genius. Being an optimist has benefits that extend beyond just feeling cheery. In fact, optimists react to stressful life events better, have more satisfying romantic relationships, and are less likely to have anxiety, depression, heart disease, and hypertension.”
See how much of an optimist you are by taking the brief quiz below:
The Optimism Quiz
Rate the following statements from 1 to 5 using the following scale:
1-Strongly Disagree, 2–Somewhat Disagree, 3–Neutral, 4-Somewhat Agree, 5-Strongly Agree.
___1. I am grateful for even the smallest things in life.
___2. I am motivated by other people’s stories of achievement.
___3. I don’t let what others do or say negatively affect me.
___4. I welcome and accept change.
___5. I acknowledge the important people in my life.
___6. I try to feel like a kid whenever possible.
___7. I take the time to eat right, exercise, and relax.
___8. I still enjoy my favorite hobbies.
___9. I hold myself accountable to achieve my purpose and passion.
___10. I am persistent in all of my efforts until I feel I have completed them.
Now, tally up your results.
If you scored between 10 and 22, you’re a pessimist. Don’t worry; it’s easy to grow your optimism. Try to increase the scores of some of your low-rated statements. For example, if you rated No. 6 low, try playing something fun like mini-golf to be more playful. If you rated low on question No. 5, do something to connect with others, like writing your best friend an appreciative note or do something else that demonstrates how you go out of your way for those who are important to you).
If you scored between 23 and 36, you’re a realist. Many optimists exhibit signs of being a realist. The key is to find balance between the two. People who are too optimistic might be daydreamers, whereas people who are too realistic might not progress in life. Strike a healthy balance between the two.
If you scored between 37 and 50, you’re an optimist. Congratulations! You possess some of the strongest qualities of optimists, which include gratitude, hope, altruism, and persistence. Keep up the positive outlook! Just remember to stay grounded.
If none of this has been helpful and you still feel as though you could be more optimistic, ask yourself: “What is stopping me from having a more positive life?” Be honest with yourself, and then make the necessary changes. Stay on it, and just do it!
Hilda Villaverde, PhD, holds a doctorate in religious studies with a minor in pastoral counseling through Emerson Institute. She is a business owner and author of five books, as well as an ordained minister and a public speaker. She presented at the inaugural Arizona Chapter HFMA HERe event in December 2013.