The VICTORIOUS HOCKEY COMPANY’s Weekly Newsletter: THE OTHER SIDE OF OPTIMISM
WOW! This is painful. So last week’s shoulder replacement surgery came and went. When I woke from my procedure my entire right side was numb. No… it was paralyzed. I felt nothing. No pain. No warmth. No touch. Nothing. My arm was rendered ornamental by the bulky pump that continually fed lidocaine into my arm via a catheter that ran through my neck.
I found myself getting frustrated trying to carry this bionic monstrosity about as I gingerly tip-toed through the house. I got caught on everything. It was heavy. I was annoyed. I wanted it gone. Well, this past Sunday around 4:00am it began beeping to let me know that it had depleted its store of medicine and I was free to pull the tube taped to my throat out. I was thrilled! For about three minutes I was thrilled. What happened next they warned me of but NOTHING could adequately prepare me for. Like a switch, I was flooded with unbearable pain. Every muscle in my shoulder started to spasm and contract. It felt as though the entire joint was trying to pull itself apart from the inside out. I stumbled in the bathroom and tried to catch myself. It was a lightning bolt of pain so severe that I blanked out for a few seconds. I couldn’t breathe. I became nauseous because the pain was so intense and to think, I asked for this! Just a handful of days I was annoyed and wanted the pain pump gone. Now I just want it back.
My point is perspective (Yes the pain has continued to dwindle with each day). I could not be bothered by the inconvenience of this contraption that was doing so much for me. I hated it. I wanted it gone. Everything was pessimistic. I could find no positive in what I was experiencing. I had completely lost touch with the fact that for years the damage done to my shoulder during my hockey career had debilitated me so. MY quality of life was significantly impacted. I could not even turn a steering wheel. As soon as I was inconvenienced, all my thoughts were blurred by pessimism. Never did I think about the fact that finally my arm and my life were about to significantly improve. No, I just hated this little machine. I resented an object that was doing so much to keep me functional. Well now it is gone and all I can say is I should have been more appreciative for having it. I should have been more positive. I should have embraced a more optimistic outlook.
We all do it. We all think of what could be better and it never does anything but make our current situation worse. I was never that way in my hockey career and you shouldn’t be that way either.
THE OTHER SIDE OF OPTIMISM
Carol Solomon, Ph.D., PCC
"When there is no wind, row."
Happiness, broadly defined, is the true underlying goal of all coaching relationships. And a key ingredient of happiness and wellbeing is optimism about the future. Here's one way you can apply it in your coaching and in your life.
Most of the work on optimism relates to how individuals explain negative events or setbacks in their lives.
Irrepressible optimists, such as successful life insurance agents talk to themselves in constructive ways when the prospect says no. This individual will generally construct specific and temporary explanations for the rejection, such as “I called him at a bad time” or “He’s already well insured, but most people aren’t, so I will just keep trying.”
One reason optimism matters is that it tends to produce persistence.
Explanatory style (optimistic or pessimistic) can be viewed as a filter for how you see the world. The filter you choose can produce depression or resilience in response to everyday failure.
But what do optimists do with their successes?
For pessimists, success is fleeting and victory melts quickly. Danger lurks nearby. Again, the explanatory style you choose can have you minimizing success or expanding your horizons.
If you observe most children, they typically enjoy an enormously lopsided explanatory style. Good things are going to last forever and carry over to help them in every other arena.
Successful politicians are almost always optimistic, partly because they have learned that the most optimistic political candidate rarely loses.
In fact, candidates now employ optimism as a strategy when writing speeches.
If you want to lead and inspire others, using optimism will do a lot more to further your cause than a pessimistic outlook.
Optimistic workers produce more, partly because they persist in the face of setbacks. When our explanations are characterized by optimism, we become energized and motivated to persevere.
When successful, optimists savor their victories, purposely prolonging and sharing them. They believe this victory will help them in every area of their lives, and indeed, it does.
Success is contagious.
Don’t tell a successful optimist they can’t do something.
They will not only do it joyfully, but inspire others to come along.
Why not make the most of these qualities?
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