Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Success Tools: The Optimism File

I have been experimenting with a technique which I came up with recently. I call it “The Optimism File”. This technique is slightly different from other visualization techniques such as goal-setting or affirmations. With goal-setting, you define a task or state that you would like to exist in the future. With affirmations, you flood the subconscious mind with a statement about the future state of your life, the idea being that the future state will manifest itself as you thoroughly internalize the desired outcome

With the "Optimism File” you stay closer to the here-and-now, concentrating on plausibly positive outcomes of near-term events. You are actually “re-setting your probabilities”. Here’s what you do: consider for a moment some upcoming event , perhaps a sales meeting, an interview, a workout session, an investment, or (in my case) a trade I might make. Now, in any of these types of events it is plausible to have a favorable outcome, or, perhaps, a less favorable outcome. Unfortunately, I sometimes tend to think pessimistically, so, I decided that I would create an exercise where I would write out plausible positive outcomes that actually could occur, related to upcoming events. It’s essentially a “set of optimistic training wheels” to “switch on” an optimistically biased outlook.

The meeting on Friday might end with me getting promoted
The Cubs might win this weekend
This trading system has been 70% profitable so I could make a good profit this week

You get the idea. As Sandra Anne Taylor has suggested eloquently, in her book Quantum Success: The Astounding Science of Wealth and Happiness, we do create our reality. Certainly we can set goals for future achievements (and we should) , and we absolutely should write affirmations and wish-lists. But these techniques deal with realities a bit “further down the road” than the next meeting, the next set of weightlifting reps, etc. So, if you make a written entry in your “Optimism File”, it has a tendency to re-set your inner “take” on reality-as-it-is. Or, at least, reality “right around the corner”. Perhaps within an hour, a day, or a week.

I also make notes when the entries in the file “come true”, in order to further convince myself that it is “OK” to envision good outcomes. So often, we try to “protect” ourselves with statements such as “hey, if it goes wrong, no biggie”, or “this sales prospect probably won’t buy…she never does”. So, the “Optimism File” is a ”safe” zone where you can predict that things will “go right”. At the very least, you feel better as you read the entries, and sometimes there are pleasant surprises as the “Optimism File” entries come true.

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