I am deaf in one ear.
I am not sure if I was born this way. I did not realize I was deaf in one ear until I was about 5. I remember when I was younger, I would plug my left ear (deaf ear) with my hand and I could not hear a difference in the sound. I plugged other ear and it was clear that the sound becomes muffled. My parents didn’t find out until I was 7, they thought I was pranking them. I remember my grade two teacher Mrs Offer had to explain to my parents that I am indeed deaf
Being deaf has its setbacks. In a crowded room, I will have trouble hearing someone. Also, people will have trouble conversing with me in the bus because if my deaf ear is facing you, I cannot pick up a thing you said - unless I turn my whole head towards you. The worse is when people call out to me, if I cannot hear that person, and starting walking away, it gives the impression that I am ignoring them. But really I just couldn’t hear.
So despite all of what I just mentioned, why do I consider myself a lucky guy?
Because I can still hear in one ear. My life would have been very different had I been completely deaf. My parents would have had to make some big life decisions or sacrifices to accommodate me. I had a choice and my choice was to look at things in a positive light.
In the face of every bad situation that happens in our lives, there one thing that is within our control, and that is the choice of whether to look at the bright side of things or the worse side of things.
I believe the attitudes we have plays a big role in determining how successful we become. A person with a negative attitude will come across a difficult situation and complain about how life can be unfair. Someone with a positive attitude will likely tackle it head on and see it as a life lesson.
Research has also shown that people who are optimists also live longer and more successful in life. This isn’t because they are lucky in life (it may play a role) but I think it has more to do with how they chose to respond to things that happen to them.
Deciding to be an optimist isn’t just a simple switch of a button. It is also about rethinking how your thought process goes through difficult situations and actively making a decision about how to feel about it, and eventually deciding how to react to a bad situation. Here are four ways to live life as an optimist.
Stop Blaming Yourself
The way you explain yourself when situations happen helps decide whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. When something bad happens, a pessimist would generally blame it on themselves, while an optimist would see it as a one time problem that will pass quickly.
So here is the attitude hack, if you are a pessimist, the world is not against you and don’t concentrate on it being your fault. Focus your energy on how solve it or prevent it from happening again. Do not focus on how it is your fault because it won’t help resolve any issues. You have control of your life. People who feel they have a control over their lives are generally more optimistic.
The World Is Not Ending
Don’t think the world is ending either. Pessimist generally takes a bad situation and imagines the worse case scenario happening. What ends up happening is these thoughts are replayed over and over. If you are trying to mitigate risk, It is good to prepare for worse case scenarios but do not dwell on it for too long.
If you catch yourself replaying this thought, ask yourself “so what”? If you fail a test, is it really the end of the world? If you lose out on a serious deal, will your business go bankrupt? If so, then is it hard to start again? You have to speak in front of a large crowd, what is the worse case scenario? You can make a big fool out of yourself. But if you do, just pick yourself up and continue on. No one will dwell on it.
Perhaps it is my optimism talking but I find that the worse case scenario ever happens.
Not Giving Up
Do you ever notice an optimist is less likely to give up? This is true, the optimist believes that anything is possible. As long as they try and through effort things will eventually go their way. The pessimist will accept things as they are and will be too afraid to take action. The negative thoughts that goes through their own head becomes their limiting belief.
The people around you may also be sabotaging your optimism in life. When you want to do something or make a change, people close to you may suggest that it is wasted effort or simply state that your are crazy. They will try to enforce their pessimism on you.
Here is the solution, believe in yourself. Other people can have their opinions but they are not you. Part of not giving up is also believing that you have control of your life. I wrote an article on the "8 Ways to Bust Negative Thoughts".
Also, understand that a commitment to change may not happen right away. There are some things in life that takes time and patience. To get a university degree, it does not actually take four years or five years. It is actually 15 years or more. You need to go through elementary school which is about 6 years, junior high or middle school is 2 to 3 years (depending on where you grew up), and finally 4 to 5 years of high school. Only then are you allowed to enroll in university for the three to five year degree.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
It is easy to be envious of others. The grass is always greener on the other side. When you compare yourself to others you start internally creating a competition that you need to be better than someone else. If you compare yourself to others who are thinner and drives a nicer car, you will start to believe in your own inferiority and become pessimistic about life.
Just remember, there will always be someone that is either better than you or worse than you - in one way or another. Choose to compare yourself to your own goals. Trust me, you will save yourself a lot of headache in the future.
"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses" - Abraham Lincoln