WORK-LIFE BALANCE / APR. 19, 2015
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7 Signs You’ve Become a Pessimist and How to Change It

Sometimes life can get you down. Your career hasn’t panned out the way you expected, the person you fell in love with no longer loves you, and the world is consumed by war, big government and taxes. At first glance, the question that can be asked is: why should I even be happy?

Pessimism is an easy addiction to attain and a hard habit to shed in one’s existence. Maintaining a negative outlook on life isn’t necessarily a good thing because there is so much that life has to offer us: beautiful music, magical scenery, kindness in strangers (sometimes), the aroma of coffee, love of friends and family, and the list goes on. We have it pretty good in this part of the world.

Indeed, like the old Bing Crosby song goes, "When you wake up each morn, aren’t you glad you were born? Think what you’ve got the whole day through, aren’t you glad you’re you?"

Moreover, being a pessimist can actually be a hindrance in your career. When you’re a professional, you must be an optimist when it comes to deadlines, personnel management, projections, and so on. If you wish to succeed, you will have to crack a smile and look on the bright side of things.

Unsure if you’re a morose individual? Here are seven signs you’ve become a pessimist and how to change it:

See also: 7 Jobs for Pessimists

1. Thinking of the Worst

As soon as something transpires or an accident occurs, you always think of the worst. Even when something good happens in your personal life, you will mull over what will go wrong and how the happiness won’t last too long. Instead of thinking of the best and relishing in the positivity, you’re just thinking of the worst.

How to change it: it’s very simple to change this because all you have to do is welcome optimism with open arms. No matter what happens, whether it’s good, bad or neutral, always resort to the glass being half full. Remember, a glass is never half empty because it’s always full due to oxygen. That or someone mal-invested in a glass too big!

2. Dismissing Personal Success

So, you’ve been given a promotion, you’ve won the lottery, and you’ve found love. How great it is to be alive! Not so fast. You’re dismissing and poo-pooing any success or accomplishment that has unfolded in your immediate vicinity. You’ve performed well because of your strong acumen or sublime personality, but you’re still unsatisfied.

How to change it: be happy with any type of success, even if it’s minuscule. Many people aren’t able to achieve success because of the aspects transpiring in their homeland, but you can. Be grateful.

3. Woe is Me

From the moment you wake up to the moment you shut your eyes, you’re complaining, whining and moaning. The theme of your day is "woe is me." It’s good to vent and have a sad day once in a while, but if your entire life is consumed by being more melodramatic than a Shakespeare play, then why do you even bother getting out of bed each morning?

How to change it: when you wake up and when you go to sleep, think about how grateful you are to have so much in your life. You have food on the table, a roof over your head, a bed to sleep on, and a job to go to. Instead of searching for every little negative tidbit, look for the good in everything.

4. You're Unkind to Kindness

Someone is tapping you on the shoulder as you’re exiting the bus. You ignore them because you don’t want to engage in any conversation. Finally, you turn around and the person informs you that you dropped $20. You say "thanks" without a smile and walk away. Essentially, you’re unkind to those who are kind to you. Why?

How to change it: smile. It’s as simple as that. Smile, say hello to others, help those in need, hold the door open for others, and so on. Just emit a radiance of kindheartedness instead of being uncouth.

5. Jealousy of Others

Your cubicle mate has finally been given a promotion. You’ve discovered that someone you once spoke to in junior high is getting married. Your cousin is going on a foreign adventure. Instead of being happy for them, you’re jealous, envious and wishing ill towards them.

How to change it: don’t be jealous of the success or accomplishments of others. All you have to do is be happy for them and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

6. Suspicious of the Acts of Man

Every time someone does something nice or speaks to you on the street, you’re suspicious and questioning their motives. Why? Sometimes people just want to do something nice for another person they have never met or they’re lonely and want to participate in a conversation. There’s being smart and then there’s being too suspicious.

How to change it: pay attention to the acts of people you know and the individuals you don’t. You could learn a thing or two and come to the conclusion that there is no need to be suspicious. Unless someone is trying to solicit $1,000 from you, there’s no real reason to reject others.

7. It Won't Work

Once an assignment has been placed in your lap or you’ve been tapped to join a group project, you’re immediately concluding that it won’t work. Right away, you’re a downer. What’s worse is that you’re encouraging others to engulf themselves with this same level of negativity.

How to change it: first, don’t think right away it won’t work. Second, even if you do believe it’ll be a failure, don’t say it. It’s like your grandmother used to say: "If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all."

See also: Why It Pays to be an Optimist

It’s easy to be a depressive character and to wallow in self-pity while pontificating on the treacherous miseries of life. You (likely) only live once, so why would you want to spend 75 years on this planet being miserable and constantly positing on about how there is so much grave injustices happening on every corner of the world? Like the song goes, “Don’t worry, be happy”.

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