When I sat down earlier today to write, I honestly had no idea how this story was going together. I did believe, though, that it would somehow. OK, I had optimism. Just needed to have a little patience.
Then, something interesting happened. I was watching the ending of the Minnesota Vikings football game — honestly, as an excuse to delay the inevitable need to write this post to maintain our streak on the Agile Best Self website.
Late in the game, with the Vikings behind, the defense held their opponent, forcing a punt. Back to receive the punt, a Viking player named Chad Beebe just needed to catch the ball to give the offense the opportunity to drive down the field to win the game. The short version is that he was unsuccessful. The ball ricocheted off his body and into the arms of an opponent, in what seemingly could end all hope for a Vikings victory.
Instead, the defense managed to keep the opponent out of the end zone, and preserve enough time for the Vikings to have one more chance. They moved down the field quickly, leading to a chance to throw the ball into the end zone — and it was caught for a touchdown by none other than Chad Beebe.
I think this story shows how optimism can work. If you buy into the definition in my earlier post, optimism becomes a key ingredient in mental toughness. And then when bad things happen, like what happened to Chad Beebe, you can lean on that optimism in the face of the Inner Critic, who likes to show up in these situations.
In his post-game interview, Beebe talked about “short memory” — the ability to put things behind you and look forward. Optimism is a part of that – it’s to what we are looking forward. No doubt in my mind he has been trained. I happen to know Beebe’s father was well known years ago on the football field for being mentally tough, and no doubt Chad learned a bit from his dad.
There are a number of ways to train optimism. In researching this article, I found this helpful post that provide some simple methods to help you become more optimistic. There are also a number of health benefits from becoming optimistic. Some good scientific proof and application of Agile Best Self Principle 9.
Agile Best Self Principle #9: Continuous attention to scientific research enhances best self.
As we look forward to winding down this incredibly challenging year, I think there are some good reasons why working on being optimistic can help us get through these next few months. I hope you find inspiration here to help you.
Copyright © 2021 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson