Too Optimistic?…Really?

Optimism is about thinking and feeling in a positive way.

Positivity is a much broader expression in behavior, motivation, creating, and living.

It is about thriving, feeling good, and feeling free.

Why are some so worried about too much optimism and too much positivity? What’s all the hesitancy about?

Not enough research about benefits? There’s plenty.

Scarcity thinking and stinginess, “watching every buck like it will get away” is a significant display of pessimism.

Pessimism is an overwhelming factor in health-related issues and in personal success and achievement.

Being tight with money and time makes you tight at the cellular level of your body.

It really is our number one health problem and the greatest deterrent of well-being and life satisfaction.

The answer to research that shows the dangers of optimism is not that you need to be more negative but that you be more effectively positive.

You don’t have to move from safety to feeling threat to manage your optimism.

Optimism is a very basic way your perception sees the world. It’s measuring a very elemental thing that started with you genetically and continued with you in your nurturance. It’s a very basic way about the way you see and judge the most elemental events in your world.

Consciousness starts with what we do with the most elemental events in our world.

The truth is that we are still tripping over the negative and cleaning up its spills more than exercising the fullness of the potential of positivity, not only to heal and integrate, but to create and build new people and new worlds, with a more solid, embodied experience of optimism.

IT’S ALL about A LITTLE MORE, Just a Little EVERY DAY.

What is trending in your feelings?

Your TENDENCY tells your story.

It is your TENDENCY that is most important.

Where are you TRENDING in your feelings? In your experience of open-ended optimism?

The higher you are in the UpSpiral, the better you’re going to feel, the better you’re going to do, the more optimistic you will become, and the more you’re going to get out of life what you want.

The research resources abound.


What is most desirable is not to be always high, high, in this UpSpiral. But it is true that you can live in the 90’s most of the time, if you learn to do so and are consistent in building the NeuroPositive™ plasticity of your brain.

However, what is more important is that each day you are a little higher, a little better, feeling a little more positive, seeing things with a little more optimism, enjoying life a little more, letting a little more light in, feeling a little more joy, a little more peace, a little more love, a little more gratitude, and a little more hope.

Let this process begin to build in you.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Dwayne Paro

    I truly believe the scarcity mindset is a large contributing factor to someone’s negative thinking bringing them to the tendency to not practice a positive mindset. There is significant discussion about the benefits of having a mindset of abundance vs scarcity. It’s nearly impossible to have a mindset of abundance if you have inner doubts and a lack of confidence. The abundance mindset is fulfilled from within an individual vice a scarcity mindset which is largely effected by external factors. The cognitive distortions of All or Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, disqualifying the positive, magnification or minimization, labeling and mislabeling are all significant contributors to a negative thinking or scarcity mindset.

  • kit

    One of the elements of this work (amongst a few!) that is so engrossing to me, is how science is ‘manifesting’ conceptual truths or practices – mapping these truths into forms that are more than simply conceptual ideas – that human beings have been talking about, practicing, and observing the results of, for…well, a long time. In our spiritual works, and others. I love love love working in the crosshatch of science and metaphysics/spirituality.

    I see correlating optimism as a ‘way of being’ (a lens through which we view the structure, conditions, and events of the outside world) to the physical structure of our ‘inside world’ (brain), simply another repeat of the creation ‘fractal’.

    This ‘fractal’ is inside-drives-outside, small to big. Creative force starts small, singularity, expands. Like the big bang theory of universe.

    Fractals are patterns that scale, and repeat, over and over.

    BTW, I don’t see any discordance between burning incense monk guru deepest meditation reincarnation type spirituality, and the discussion of how fractals applies to optimism and the brain. Tomato, Toe-mah-toe……

    This fractal shows up as we create (quality of life – luminescent, or dark, dreary?) from the ‘singularity’ of what we believe. The ‘singularity’ of our belief informs how we act.

    That doesn’t mean if we get into a car accident we must have ‘believed’ it into being! Well maybe but I don’t believe that way.

    I subscribe to the belief that the programming of the universe, the design, includes random event generators. Sometimes an accident is just a random event with no great ‘reason’ or purpose to it, other than the introduction of randomness itself. The natural result of energy ‘eddies’ we haven’t learned to detect yet.

    Our language is peppered with sayings attesting to an underlying paradigm on the power of belief.

    ‘If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right’ mostly attributed to Henry Ford.

    In all instances, even when the fractal showed up as the ‘big bang’ (if I understand the theory accurately), it isn’t a light switch.

    It’s expansion over time. A process, not a two state event (on/off).

    I see the same process in creating the lens through which we see the world.

    Whatever choice we make in structuring our thought-world, bit by bit, our viewpoint ‘lens’ is crafted from the inside out. Then that lens solidly informs the way we see the outside. The ‘outside’ expands. And so on.

    If I believe in my inner world as the creative source of my ‘outer world’ quality, darn tooting I’m practicing the process of expansion via day by day, bit by bit shifts in what I consciously choose to think and feel.

    There is opportunity in every moment to notice something good in our surroundings, and anchor to a positive emotion. It’s simply a practice. The more we do it, the more of a habit it becomes.

  • Kathy Lee

    This week I coached a new client who told me he had just received the news that he would be promoted, something he had worked toward for the past two years. I asked him how he was going to celebrate and he said he’d go out for some drinks with colleagues. When I asked him how he could savor this accomplishment that he’d worked so hard and long for, how he could make it last as long as possible he was surprised at the question. The concept of permanence and pervasiveness of the good is a new one for me and it was new for my client. Allowing the good to last longer by giving it full attention while holding it in a state of gratitude is one method of developing a longer state of joyfulness about it.
    While we can learn optimism we can also learn pessimism. One benefit of the Optimism Test, even though my results were mixed, is that I can make a choice to cultivate more permanence and pervasiveness of the good stuff in life. My question is: if we keep doing the Emotional Gym will we become more optimistic? Will the pessimism subside automatically by developing gratitude, peace, love and joy? I hope the answer is “yes”.

  • Kalah Vaughan

    I have personally dealt with scarcity in my life and loved one’s surrounding me. It is easy to to let the negative feelings seep in when worried about scarcity. The wonderful thing is that “scarcity” is so common they made a word and definition that matches that feeling. This means you can recognize the feeling and know you can climb out of the mindset.

    I had to do this many of times and there is nothing wrong with it. Every time I step out of the scarcity mindset I am higher on my up spiral score.

    Speaking of up spiral score, I have been staying steady in the 70’s. For the first time I moved to the 80’s for the day.

    Being optimistic has been a part of my regular life. It gives a different perspective to everything that happens on day to day basis. But for the day I jumped up to 80, I started at an up spiral score of 75 and put my intention to be in the 80’s by the end of the day. It worked! I had the thoughts running through my head about being able to start and accomplish anything I wanted to. I felt I could go to the computer and create in flow of my calling. Life was grand.

    The following day my up spiral score went down a couple of points to 78. This is not a failure but something to celebrate. This number is still far above where I started a few weeks ago in the low 70’s.

    Continue practicing the emotional gym and rise baby rise!!! No judgments! Where ever you are right now is perfect for you at this very moment.

  • kit

    Test. My posts keep getting deleted this is a test.

  • kits3rdaccount

    One of the elements of this work (amongst a few!) that is so engrossing to me, is how science is ‘manifesting’ conceptual truths or practices – mapping these truths into forms that are more than simply conceptual ideas – that human beings have been talking about, practicing, and observing the results of, for…well, a long time. In our spiritual works, and others. I love love love working in the crosshatch of science and metaphysics/spirituality,

    The report in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings about the finding that the Optimism-Pessimism scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) predicts lifespan as a dependent variable, is essentially a confirmation for many, including myself, who hold strong beliefs that we create the quality of our life from the inside out.

    It seems like common sense that when we believe ‘bad’ events are pervasive in our life, our body can’t help but obey and respond accordingly.

    I liken it to a kind of cellular rest. In the same way I can feel a body sensation when I connect to a belief I am surrounded by a cornucopia of abundance, I can feel a sensation when I slip into those moments of bah humbug nothing’s going right.

    I’ll take the former thank you very much. I’d rather stick around as long as I can it takes a lot of time to get to the bottom of that cornucopia!

  • Yolanda Smith

    How in the world did I live almost 53 years, not knowing that pessimism could be detrimental to your health? At best, I knew that it would affect emotions. 

    A majority of the groups that I speak to are women, therefore, this is where I chose to do my research.

    There was a 15-year study conducted, with 162 post- menaposal women participating. At the time of the study, none of the participants had heart disease.

    Approximately  97,000 were included in the analysis. The women completed surveys designed to assess their degree of optimism and their general level of hostility and cynicism.  They answered a series of “yes” or “no” questions.  Here is what resulted over eight years of follow-up:

    Women who scored highest for optimism had a 9% lower risk for developing heart disease and a 14% lower risk of dying from all causes than women who scored lowest for optimism. Women with a high degree of hostility and cynicism were 16% more likely to die than women who scored lowest for hostility and cynicism. The heart disease rate was similar for both groups.

    I have to admit, that this type of Revelation was mind blowing  and disturbing. I suffered from depression throughout childhood and much of my adult life.  I was very cynical because, I simply felt like I had no hope for anything that resembled happiness in my life. Cynicism was always more of a defense mechanism for me, a protective shield.

    It is my belief that there are more people living the way that I used to then not. This is specifically why I believe that it is important to share this information, with people who are suffering and feeling hopeless.

    The word “positive” or the term “thinking positive” has become such a cliche in our society. However, I think that if people knew the science behind the physical consequences of being negative and cynical, perhaps then they would make more of an effort to be positive or optimistic.

     Too many times, God gets the blame for our early departure from this earth or for the illnesses we suffer while we’re still here.  The truth is, we ultimately choose an optimistic, longer life or a pessimistic sickly and early demise. CHOOSE LIFE!i

  • Dr. gloria wright

    I’ve often read and heard that it isn’t good to “diet,” but rather to change your lifestyle of eating. It’s also recommended that you change your weight gradually over an extended length of time – not a lot of weight change in a short period. It’s the same with optimism. Watch what you think (those thoughts that go unsolicited through your mind). Stop and reframe your thoughts when they become negative. Train your brain and your emotions to be positive.

    Og Mandino says to “build good habits and become slaves to them.” Amen. We wouldn’t think of starting our day without brushing our teeth. The same can be so with positivity. Start your day with gratitude. Reflect on gratitude before you go to sleep. Monitor your thoughts and feelings throughout the day to build a positive bias. After a while you won’t have to monitor so much before you are used to feeling good and having positive thoughts.

    Cynics and pessimists spouse that optimism is weak or silly. Well, not if you want to be happy, healthy and life longer. Optimism matters! And I quote my dad, “Watch the company you keep.” If you want to play better bridge or pickleball, play with better players. If you want to be happy and optimistic, hang around people who are.

    Don’t buy the negative propaganda. Believe the research that supports that being positive enhances your life. To quote Dr. Larkin, “what is … important is that each day you are a little higher, a little better, feeling a little more positive, seeing things with a little more optimism, enjoying life a little more, letting a little more light in, feeling a little more joy, a little more peace, a little more love, a little more gratitude, and a little more hope.” It can’t hurt. It certainly can help.

  • Kathy Lee

    The readings on Strengths are uplifting and help me to strongly re-think where I focus my attention from fixing my weaknesses to building and broadening my strengths. This is a convergence of Barbara Fredrickson’s Build and Broaden framework. Focus on building and broadening my strengths is a much more productive way to spend my time and I’m noticing I’m starting to ask my coaching clients different questions. After spending years (13) in therapy one day I realized I was repeating my story, a story of choice, and I was sick of telling it as it hadn’t changed much at all over those year. I wish I had known about Positive Psychology years ago. Now, instead of wasting time on what’s not working or happening, I am learning to use whatever negative pops up, whether it’s my negative self-talk or a negative event in life, I am noticing I’m making different choices. I am beginning to ask myself – what is this negative thought or feeling indicating that I do want in my life? And I’m asking myself sooner than before this course.

    Living and seeing life through the lens of strengths is a fairly new concept for me and a welcomed one. It’s a whole new window to see life through and it does lift me up to a higher, happier emotional state. I was pleased to know my strengths of character in the VIA test and these were reaffirmed in the Strengths Finder test as well.

    This is a whole new way to live life and I feel so fortunate to have found these concepts. The next 20 years of practicing playing to my strengths may or may not give birth to my genius, but I’m eager to find out.

  • Kalah Vaughan

    I am categorized by my friends and family as an extremely happy and positive go-getter. But there is another side that many do not see.

    I have a tendency to have a pattern of being extremely sad for a part of the month. Afterwards I began to become hopeful and rebuild my happiness. But the question keeps occurring to me of where the sadness derives from. After a healing session with my Rieki coach (energy healer) there was more light shined on the roots of my sadness. They are generational feelings passed down to me after FIVE generations. To me this was great news, It wasn’t me! It was a program that was given to me. My mind was blown to say the least.

    With the help of the up spiral score and finding out new things about me, I know I will continue to rise daily. Just knowing to start focusing on my strengths and that the sadness program inside of me, is not me! And that it can easily disappear is great news for me and you. If I can rise daily so can you!

    I have not reached the 90’s in my up spiral score yet, but I know I will get there soon. Rise, Baby, Rise!

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute