We're all a bit unique, and part of that uniqueness is the way we view any given day, our world, or our life.
Some folks have an easier time of harnessing optimism than others and some people always seem to default to a defeatist mindset. The first study on optimism I recall was one focusing on hitting a baseball in the early 90's. The study found that batters who went into the batter's box thinking they'd strike out were more than twice as likely to do so as compared to thinking they'd get a hit.
In fact, those who expected to get a hit, focusing on positive outcomes rather than negative ones, hit for an average that was about a hundred points higher. I remember attempting to harness the positivity, even during a bit of a slump for the rest of my playing days. The power of positively hardly ends with attempting to hit a baseball and the latest Harvard study produced a lot of reasons to attempt to find your most optimistic you.
According to the study, an optimistic person experiences much less stress than others – which makes sense. Independent of other factors, stress is the single biggest killer in the world. It's historically explained the disparity between life expectancy for men and women for example.
If you're optimistic you're far less likely to worry. Less worrying equals less stress and there you have it. Over one's lifetime how big of a factor is it? Citing the study: “Research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years.” That's pretty profound... So is the impact in your career.
The study compared those in sales. They found that those with a positive mindset were 88% more successful in like jobs/fields. 88%! Obviously, it's not as easy as just flipping a switch and attempting to look on the bright side of everything, but if you can, or even if you just are able to make some incremental progress – it's likely to make your life a bit healthier, longer and more prosperous.