In Numbers 14:1-10 we see two very different attitudes and outlooks. After the twelve spies had returned from spying out the land of Canaan, ten of the spies said that the enemy was too big and strong and they couldn’t take the land. But Joshua and Caleb were optimistic in their faith and told the people that God would give them the land. Unfortunately, the crowd listened to the ten pessimistic spies and God sent them back out into the wilderness. For these people, their pessimistic faith was the difference between entering the Promise Land and going back out to die in the wilderness.
There are countless problems in our lives at any given moment. As much as we may try, there are times when these issues can really bring us down and give us a pessimistic attitude. However, even in the face of difficult situations, we can still have an optimistic outlook. Let’s examine the 4 secrets of optimistic people.
- They Express Gratitude. Optimistic people rarely talk about what they don’t have; it’s almost always about what they do have. You may not live in your dream house yet, but you can be thankful that you’re not homeless. You may not drive a BMW, but at least you don’t have to walk to work. Do you see the point? We can drive ourselves miserable by focusing on the negative. Life will never be perfect. Most people have it worse that we do. If we want to be happy, then let’s be thankful for the good things we already have.
- They Volunteer. This is about shifting the focus from ourselves to others. Optimistic people aren’t as focused on themselves. Just give it a try. Go help an elderly person with some housework. Go visit someone who has been sick or is in the hospital. Go help around the house with chores you would normally skip out on. Studies have shown that people are much more happy and satisfied when they are focusing on helping others instead of centering in on their own problems.
- They Notice the Good. Optimistic people look on the bright side, which is essentially the defining quality of optimism. They are able to find that silver lining. This isn’t something that comes naturally, but with practice. It is very difficult to look for something positive when you are faced with dreadful situations like a loss of a job, sickness, poverty, or death. While the silver lining may not appear right away, an optimistic person keeps looking for the positives.
- They Change Negative Self-Talk. Typically, when people look in the mirror they begin to pick out their flaws. They wish they were different and put themselves down. Much of this is spurred on by our culture’s terribly distorted standard of beauty. Through the magic of programs like Photoshop, people are made to look like things they aren’t in real life. Let’s stop being so hard on ourselves. No one is flawless. We need to change the things we are saying to ourselves. Focus on the good things and change the negative self-talk into positive thoughts about yourself.
Life is so much better when we focus on the positive side. Consider this, we know that God helps us (Matthew 6:25-34), we know that God protects us (2 Corinthians 1:10), and we know that God causes all things to work together for the good of His will (Romans 8:28). God provides these blessings because wants us to be joyful. He wants us to praise Him for the blessings He provides us with. There are way too many positives in this life to wallow around in all the negatives. No matter the challenges, it’s time to focus on the tremendous blessings that come with being a Christian.