Is it relevant or reckless to deny reality? I happen to like the phrase:
“Do not deny reality, live your life to defy reality.”
Those ten little words that have driven so much of my personal development during the last 30 years. A recent review of Marty Seligman’s 1990 book, Learned Optimism, reminded me of a fact I did not remember when I first read the book in 1994.
What I did remember was the book made me mad. I had always thought of myself as an optimist, and the test in the book proved otherwise. I was mad because the research indicated that optimist people were higher achievers and enjoyed better health. The research also showed that pessimists are more likely to give up in the face of adversity and/or to suffer from depression. Sure, I get down but I am no quitter. Given a choice of what I wanted to be, it was clear I wanted to be an optimist. However, I had to get over being mad first!
The good thing is I was so mad I decided to do everything I could to deny the reality of that testing and prove the test wrong.
Then I learned I did not have to deny reality. You see, it did not matter how I tested. What mattered was how much effort I was willing to exert to defy reality. What Seligman did in the book was invite pessimists to LEARN to be optimist by thinking about their reactions to adversity in a new way.
Learned optimism was nothing more than well examined pessimism that has been transformed through shifting reactions to, and the descriptions of, any adversity we face in life. A ‘learned optimist’ is a pessimist who has taken positive action. That is a pessimist I could relate to!
Dr. Success Challenge: Have some fun. Take the free Optimism Test. Hold your results up the preverbal light and transform away any reality you do not like. Write me if you would like some guidelines to get started on your transformation process.
Be brave. Defy away.