in a world of arguably increased pressure, with growing competition during and after university as we battle for success, it becomes ever more difficult to maintain optimistic attitudes. However, for many, reckless optimism is the secret ingredient to success.

It is easy to feel lost amongst the many students who compete to excel in their lives, socially and in their careers. Sometimes we may even feel down as we compare ourselves to others. Comparing our progress to the apparent ‘success’ of others enables us to rapidly become cynical and negative, deteriorating our ability to persevere. Yet, practising a ‘reckless optimism’ allows us to maintain concentration on our own goals, build a psychological defence to support our wellbeing and become fearless.

There is often one person in a group of friends who conveys themselves as somewhat tiringly optimistic, reminding us of the childhood phrase drilled into us at primary school “there’s no such word as can’t.” Over time, through a series disappointments and falls, this stale saying evolves into a simply naïve outlook on life. Its significance becomes little more than idle ignorance. Yet, in my experience these positive people generally appear happier with life. Reckless positivism allows us to believe in ourselves and thus take the steps we know or believe will allow us to achieve our goals. Meanwhile, having little faith in oneself provides nearly no motivation to drive towards dreams and sustain self-confidence.

There is often one person in a group of friends who conveys themselves as somewhat tiringly optimistic

If anything, maintaining an optimistic attitude undoubtedly leaves us happier in the long term. When things don’t work out as we wish, surely still seeing ‘a cup half full’ rather than ‘a cup half empty’ ensures we do not feel at a loss. We will be motivated to try again or accept things not working out the way we hope. In this way, optimism acts as an apparent mental self-defence mechanism.

Arguably, being optimistic allows us to be fearless in striving for goals. Research around the topic has demonstrated that optimism encourages greater risk-taking and effort in order to achieve desired goals. Being pessimistic conversely degrades concentrated efforts and self-belief, negating the likelihood of personal success and well being.

I believe practising reckless optimism is certainly key to motivating ourselves in all parts of life. The “I can” attitude drilled into us at a young age cannot have been invented for no reason. There is intense practicality in reckless positivism. Even if it does not result in success physically, in the form of desired goals, it will inevitably benefit ourselves mentally, making us increasingly able to cope with all challenges.

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