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August 25, 2021

Why being an optimist can be seen as toxic

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

In 2013 I founded a fashion business and we brought the store to your door. Hosting ladies shopping parties in your own home I used to say we turned living rooms into boutiques and bedrooms into changing rooms. My business was on the biggest growth accelerator in the world and I learnt so much about business, gaining and raising funding, about pitching, marketing in business and so much more.

The business was growing but I wanted to level up. One of my ideas was to pitch to a supplier to supply on demand and that’s exactly what I did.

After gaining the deal I was very excited, this was a huge win, and whilst getting the business ready for investment opportunities it became a no brainer business with low overheads and very high sales opportunities.

Regretfully, I ended up putting all of my hope until this deal which ended up falling through. This turned out to be a really hard moment for me in my life.

I always told myself everything would be okay in the end and dismiss the feeling of when things would go wrong. I didn’t allow myself to acknowledge what was going on in the situations and truly learn and grow from them.

I am certainly an optimistic person, but when does optimism become unhealthy, and can it be unhealthy in some situations and not others?

Around 6 months later after a lot of thinking I decided to close this business and for a short time went back to my full time sales position. I went back to a 9-5 job and found it challenging but I convinced myself that this was a stepping stone to move forward.

It was only a few months before I founded the business I run now in training neuro-linguistic programming and coaching, starting with coaching and then moving into training.

When we find ourselves in places we may never thought we would be, we can never join the dots looking forward, it’s only looking backwards where we end up that we can see the path clearly. I think it was the optimism that had a huge impact on my business growth.

A recent study states that people who are more optimistic in life live longer. Those who think more positively tend to live longer, happier lives. In actual fact, there is a large amount of available research and studies that show the impact just thinking more positively can have on your body.

But where does optimise come from? This is a big question I get asked, and the simple answer is it is part nature and part nurture. Up until the age of 7 we go through an Imprint period where everything we experience, the people we see and engage with helps develop our habits, beliefs, values and behaviours. This influences our future beliefs and behaviours we have now.

Although some people actually gain a level of optimism from going through a trauma or bad time in life, and due to that they have a breakthrough from the negative uncomfortable emotions. This can then lead to a more positive outlook on life, giving you a ‘new lease for life’.

You can change your mindset to become optimistic, or even more so if you already feel optimistic.

So what is an optimistic person?

An optimistic person will always look on the positive side of things, even when they seem overwhelming. An optimistic person will still find a positive spin to put on the situation and will know that they can overcome it.

Here are my top tips to developing optimism:

  1. Be grateful for what you currently have

Look around at what you currently have, and appreciate it. You are then focusing on what you have rather than spending your time looking for things you don’t have.

  1. Always expect things to happen – and be ok with it not.

Neuro-linguistic programming is all about changing your mindset, and can also help you to increase positivity in your life. If you think that something positive will happen, or a problem can be overcome then it is more likely to happen. It is also key to be ok with it not happening and release any attachment to the outcome.


  • Ask yourself a better question

If things are not going the way you want them to go and you see them as a negative – such as things are going rubbish, this is a failure – instead flip that thought on its head. Ask yourself a better question – such as what opportunity has this allowed me, how can I learn from this and what learnings will help me into the future.

There are so many situations that we can find ourselves tempted to look at it negatively, from a missed train, delayed plane or a cancelled business meeting but what does it achieve by doing so?

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