5 Things Everyone Should Know About OptimistsNone By Derrick Carpenter
The last time you faced a challenging situation, were you more focused on what made the experience bad or on what you could do to make it better? We all have habitual ways of responding that fall along the spectrum of optimism and pessimism. Optimists consistently recognize how much control they have in a situation and expect a good outcome when they take steps to act on it.
It’s not surprising that optimistic thinkers tend to be happier than pessimistic thinkers. But there are other benefits to being optimist, some of which seem hard to believe. Here are five that may surprise you:
You'll Have a Healthier and Longer Life
Optimism is robustly linked to overall health and longevity. People who think optimistically have lower rates of heart disease and hypertension and lower risk for mortality in general. Optimists live, on average, about 8 to 10 years longer than pessimists. Yes, that’s right—nearly a full decade! And that’s usually an extra decade of good health. These health benefits are likely a result of optimists taking better care of themselves and exhibiting greater self-control. When given a poor but treatable health prognosis, pessimists more often hear the news as unchangeable and think of a heart attack or treatable cancer as an impending death sentence. Optimists, on the other hand, can recognize the gravity of their situation but still take the steps needed to regain their health.
You'll Have Higher Quality Relationships
According to researchers at Stanford University, optimists report having romantic relationships that they enjoy more and that last longer than those of pessimists. And, perhaps surprisingly, these findings still show up when only one partner is an optimist. Psychologists believe that optimism leads to a greater perception of support from one’s partner, which helps couples fight more fairly. When asked about a recent conflict in the relationship, both optimistic thinkers and their partners were more likely to say that the other was invested in improving the relationship better, which leads to better conflict resolution. In addition, the more we idealize our partners—telling ourselves they are fantastic in ways that might not be fully in touch with reality—the happier we tend to be in our relationships.
You'll Perform Better on the Job
Selling life insurance can be a tough job. A study of salespeople at Metropolitan Life showed that the most optimistic of thinkers outsold their pessimistic peers by 88%. This performance gap may result from optimists being seen as more charismatic, being more likely to persist until towards their goals, and finding it easier to shake off a failed attempt so that it doesn’t affect them in their next try. Optimists have an easier time in the job search, finding comparable jobs to pessimists with less effort. When they are employed, optimists are more likely to be pro