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Quiz: 7 Ways to Optimize Your Optimism

For each numbered item below, score a 1 if you AGREE with the statement -- and a 0 if you DISAGREE. Total your numbers for all ten statements to come up with a final score ranging from 0 to 10.

1. People make their own luck.

2. Hard work pays off.

3. Honesty really is the best policy.

4. Tough times are temporary.

5. Challenges bring out the best in people.

6. There is much to be grateful for.

7. The world is generally a friendly place.

8. My co-workers are capable people.

9. I have control over my future.

10. My best days are ahead of me.
If you score a perfect 10, set up shop as an optimism coach. You've got what it takes! If you score between 7 and 9, you're a strong optimist as well, and it's likely you strengthen the attitudes of people around you. Keep it up.

If you end up with a score ranging from 4 to 6, you're on the fence, tipping between optimism and pessimism. But you have enough of a positive perspective to make further progress. Be more conscious of your response to daily situations. Avoid generalizing situations as "all bad" or personalizing them as "my fault." See the article directly below for important advice.

If you rate from 0 to 3, well, there's work to be done. Read the [below] article for positive ideas, and start taking action right away.

7 Ways to Optimize Your Optimism

Some people seem wired for optimism, but most of us have to work at it. Here are seven ways to be realistically positive no matter what comes your way:

Appreciate and activate your strengths. You have real skills, rich life experiences, and a reservoir of good intention. Put all of it to work every day.

Opt for a partial solution when perfection isn't possible. It's always better to make some progress than to endure life as a chronically frustrated perfectionist.

Imagine success before it unfolds. Follow the lead of successful athletes. Before you take on a challenging situation, picture yourself dealing with it in a winning way.

Act yourself into a new way of thinking. It sounds a bit backward, but it works. Pretend to be positive, carry yourself with confidence, communicate an upbeat message -- and those behaviors will start shaping your attitude.

Talk about what's going right. Even in the most dysfunctional environments, good things happen. Start spotting those success stories, and make them the focus of your conversations.

Put problems in perspective. Too much thinking can drag us down, especially when we generalize ("I'm no good with numbers"), catastrophize ("If I don't make this next sale, I'm going to lose my job"), or personalize ("It was all my fault"). Learn to recognize these distorted interpretations, and replace them with a view of the situation that's scaled down to fit reality.

Do what you can instead of dwelling on what you can't. There's so much to be concerned about these days. Try to accept what you can't change, but work like heck in those many situations where you can make a difference.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Terez ( is an international consultant and frequent speaker on organizational performance ( and personal excellence (

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