Optimism (quotes)


What is optimism?


Optimism is looking on the favourable side

  • Optimism: Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something.  Oxford Dictionary
  • Optimism: The quality of being full of hope and emphasizing the good parts of a situation, or a belief that something good will happen.  Cambridge Dictionary
  • Optimism: A disposition or tendency to look on the more favourable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favourable outcome.  Dictionary.com
  • Optimism:  An inclination to put the most favourable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.  Merriam Webster
  • Optimists are nostalgic about the future. Chicago Tribune
  • PositivityPositive thinkingHopeExpectationAnticipationCheerfulness

Optimism is looking for the opportunities, lessons and positives in all situations, even if they appear negative at first

  • Optimism is a tendency to expect the best possible outcome and to dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation. Dana Lightman
  • Optimists have four special behaviours, all learned through practice and repetition. First, optimists look for the good in every situation. Second, optimists always seek the valuable lesson in every setback or difficulty. Third, optimists always look for the solution to every problem.  Fourth, optimists think and talk continually about their goals.  Brian Tracy
  • The pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties. Reginald B. Mansell
  • An optimistic mind-set finds dozens of possible solutions for every problem that the pessimist regards as incurable. Robert Anton Wilson
  • Opportunity

Optimism is a beautiful and magical virtue

  • Optimism is the sunshine of the soul. Old saying
  • An optimist is the human personification of spring. Susan J. Bissonette
  • In optimism, there is magic. In pessimism, there is nothing. Abraham–Hicks
  • Optimism and humour are the grease and glue of life. Without both of them we would never have survived our captivity. Philip Butler
  • Optimism is a kind of heart stimulant — the digitalis of failure. Elbert Hubbard
  • True optimism has no connection whatever with overindulgent judgments of any kind. It consists of conceiving and willing the ideal, as this is inspired by profound and self-consistent affirmation of life and of the world.   Albert Schweitzer
  • I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. Nelson Mandela
  • Virtue

The rewards of optimism


Optimism draws positive things to us

  • Positive things happen to positive people. Sarah Beeny
  • Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you. Mary Lou Retton
  • There is abundant reason to believe that optimism – big, little, and in between – is useful to a person because positive expectations can be self-fulfilling. Christopher Peterson
  • There is a basic law that like attracts like. Negative thinking definitely attracts negative results. Conversely, if a person habitually thinks optimistically and hopefully, his positive thinking sets in motion creative forces – and success, instead of eluding him, flows toward him. Norman Vincent Peale

Optimism opens the door to possibility and a better future

  • Start to argue against your first line of reasoning. Pretend you’re an attorney whose job is to prove the pessimist in you wrong. Start off on building your case for what’s possible. You’ll surprise yourself. Optimism is by nature expansive—it opens door after door to what’s possible. Pessimism is just the opposite—it is constrictive. It shuts the door on possibility. If you really want to open up your life and motivate yourself to succeed, become an optimistic thinker. Steve Chandler
  • I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door–or I’ll make a door.  Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope.  Norm Chomsk
  • You’ll surprise yourself. Optimism is by nature expansive—it opens door after door to what’s possible. Pessimism is just the opposite—it is constrictive. It shuts the door on possibility. If you really want to open up your life and motivate yourself to succeed, become an optimistic thinker.  Steve Chandler
  • By saying yes, you start improvising your life. It’s an optimistic, courageous act that opens your experiences to people and places you’ve never seen. Fran Sorin
  • Possibility

Optimism creates endurance

  • A mandated mission is a resolute, inner-directed, uncompromising goal orientation that strives in concert with one’s life purpose. It is most recognizable in the form of steadfast individual perseverance. The person who perseveres against all odds to fulfill an obligation or dream often seems foolhardy to less optimistic individuals. Mary-Elaine Jacobsen
  • I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will. Antonio Gramsci
  • Perseverance

Optimism makes us more successful

  • The most readily identifiable quality of a total winner is an attitude of personal optimism and enthusiasm. Denis Waitley
  • Optimism tells you who to select and recruit. If two prospects are close in raw talent, recruit the optimist. He’ll do better in the long run. Martin Seligman
  • Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Helen Keller
  • Your determination to become a more optimistic person in every part of your life will do more to ensure your success and happiness than any other single quality you can develop. Brian Tracy
  • In this world, the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are positive. Even when they are wrong they are positive, and that is the way of achievement, correction, improvement, and success.  Educated, eye-open optimism pays.  David Landes
  • Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress. Lloyd Alexander
  • Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other. Brian Tracy
  • Success

Optimism boosts our health…

  • Research has revealed that optimism plays a significant role on our overall health—from different rates of cancer to overall immune functioning. Martin Seligman
  • We estimate that being in the upper quartile of optimism seems to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular risk roughly equivalent to not smoking two packs of cigarettes daily. Martin Seligman
  • It’s a wonderful thing to be optimistic. It keeps you healthy and it keeps you resilient. Daniel Kahneman
  • Health

…and makes us more resilient against stress and difficulties

  • Life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on the optimist as on the pessimist, but the optimist weathers them better. Martin Seligman
  • It all starts with optimism. If we can’t tame those gremlins in our minds and learn to shape the contents of our consciousness, the rest of this stuff doesn’t matter. Brian Johnson
  • Optimism is the foundation of courage. Nicholas Murray Butler
  • AdversityChallenge

Optimism boosts our energy

  • Optimism boosts your energy and focuses your sights on reaching your goals, rather than wallowing in your setbacks. Denis Waitley

Optimism makes life more pleasant and fun

  • In the long run the pessimist may be proved right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip. Daniel L. Reardon
  • It can be said of optimism that while sometimes mistaken, it is never sadly mistaken. Robert Brault
  • Don’t ever become a pessimist; a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun–and neither can stop the march of events. Robert A. Heinlein
  • FunEnjoyment

Optimists are nicer to be around than pessimists

  • Everybody avoids the company of those who are always grumbling, who are full of “ifs” and “buts,” and “I told you so’s.” We like the people who always look toward the sun, whether it shines or not.  It is the cheerful, hopeful people we go to for sympathy and assistance; not the carping, gloomy critics, –who always think it is going to rain, and that we are going to have a terribly hot summer, or a fearful thunder-storm, or who are forever complaining of hard times and their hard lot.  It is the bright, cheerful, hopeful, contented people who makes their ways, who are respected and admired. Gloom and depression not only take much out of life, but detract greatly from the chances of winning success.  It is the bright and cheerful spirit that wins the final triumph.  Orison Swett Marden
  • PessimismSurround yourself with positive people

More rewards of optimism

  • One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.  Lucille Ball
  • The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a person to hold his or her head high, to claim the future for him or herself and not to abandon it to the enemy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • The place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum. Havelock Ellis
  • The realist sees reality as concrete. The optimist sees reality as clay. Robert Brault

Optimism is a habit that can be learned


Optimism can be learned and developed…

  • Unlike dieting, learned optimism is easy to maintain once you start. Once you get into the habit of disputing negative beliefs, your daily life will run much better, and you will feel much happier. Martin Seligman
  • All that is required to become an optimist is to have the goal and to practice it. The more you rehearse optimistic thoughts, the more ‘natural’ and ‘ingrained’ they will become. With time, they will be part of you, and you will have made yourself into an altogether different person. Sonja Lyubomirsky
  • When you practice thinking and responding optimistically most of the time, this positive attitude soon becomes a conditioned response. You will eventually find yourself reacting and responding positively and optimistically all-day long. Brian Tracy
  • Your level of optimism can be equated with your level of mental fitness. This form of mental fitness can be developed by practicing specific mental exercises, over and over, until you automatically respond in a positive and constructive way to anything that happens to you. Brian Tracy
  • It takes hard work and a great deal of practice to accomplish effectively, but if you can persist at these strategies until they become habitual, the benefits could be immense. Some optimists may be born that way, but scores of optimists are made with practice. Sonja Lyubomirsky
  • LearningHabit

The secret to experiencing life events in a positive way is to adopt a positive explanatory style

  • Optimism is about disciplining our minds to create more empowering explanations of what’s going on. Martin Seligman
  • Changing the destructive things you say to yourself when you experience the setbacks that life deals all of us is the central skill of optimism. It’s all about the way you interpret something that happens to you. Martin Seligman
  • Whether we’re optimists or pessimists comes down to our “explanatory styles”— how we explain what’s happening in our world. There are three crucial dimensions to your explanatory style: (1.) Permanence: Is it permanent or temporary? (2.) Pervasiveness: Is it reflective of my whole life? (3.) Personalization: Am I reponsible? Or outside factors?   Martin Seligman

Actively look for the blessings, opportunities and lessons in all situations…

  • Optimalists tend to be benefit finders—the sort of people who find the silver lining in the dark cloud, who make lemonade out of lemons, who look on the bright side of life, and who do not fault writers for using too many cliches. With a knack for turning setbacks into opportunities, the Optimalist goes through life with an overall sense of optimism. Tal Ben- Shahar

… especially in seemingly negative situations

  • Essentially, all optimism strategies involve the exercise of construing the world with a more positive and charitable perspective, and many entail considering the silver lining in the cloud, identifying the door that opens as a result of one that has closed. Sonja Lyubomirsky
  • The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Winston Churchill

Learn the art of positive thinking …

  • An optimist isn’t someone that always thinks positively. That’s physiologically impossible! Rather, an optimist is someone who knows how to interrupt, intercept, and stop negative thoughts before they can be completed. They turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Vic Johnson
  • Learned optimism is not a rediscovery of the “power of positive thinking.”  Changing the destructive things you say to yourself when you experience the setbacks that life deals all of us is the central skill of optimism.  Martin Seligman

… and positive visioning

  • Visualization can be very helpful, if you imagine the steps you will take in order to succeed. Mentally simulating the process of achieving the goal, rather than the hoped- for outcome, not only results in a more optimistic outlook, but in greater planning and preparation. Picture yourself doing what it takes to succeed, and you will soon find yourself believing that you can. Heidi Grant Halvorson
  • When you have vision it affects your attitude. Your attitude is optimistic rather than pessimistic. Charles R. Swindoll
  • Leaders need to be optimists. Their vision is beyond the present.  Rudy Giuliani
  • Vision

Practicing mindfulness improves optimism

  • A series of studies conducted at the University of Rochester focused on people high in mindfulness – that is, those who are prone to be mindfully attentive to the here and now and keenly aware of their surroundings. It turns out that such individuals are models of flourishing and positive mental health.  Relative to the average person, they are more likely to be happy, optimistic, self- confident, and satisfied with their lives and less likely to be depressed, angry, anxious or self- conscious.  Sonja Lyubomirsky
  • Mindfulness

Be an optimist but also a realist


Be an optimist …

  • What choices are you making in your perception of the events around you? We choose how we view our times.  There is a pinch of pessimism in our culture now.  Counter it with small acts of optimism. Pick up a piece of litter that isn’t yours.  Show some extra grace on the freeway.  Give to your food bank.  Smile at a child who is in your way. Help someone you know.  Help someone you don’t know. The accumulation of small, optimistic acts produces quality in our culture and in your life.  Our culture resonates in tense times to individual acts of grace.  What’s your choice?   Jennifer James
  • My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. Jack Layton
  • I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.  Winston Churchill
  • It doesn’t hurt to be optimistic. You can always cry later. Lucimar Santos de Lima

… but be realistic too …

  • Optimism means expecting the best, but confidence means knowing how to handle the worst. Never make a move if you are merely optimistic. Zurich Axiom
  • The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. William Arthur Ward
  • The pessimist sees only the tunnel; the optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel; the realist sees the tunnel and the light – and the next tunnel. Sydney J. Harris
  • I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.  Walt Disney
  • An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight. The truly wise person is colourblind.  Albert Schweitzer

… with a touch of idealism too

  • An optimist is a person who sees only the lights in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows. An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadows, but in addition sees something else: the possibility of changing the picture, of making the lights prevail over the shadows. Felix Adler
  • I am neither an optimist nor pessimist, but a possibilist. Max Lerner

The risk of optimism


Excessive optimism can become complacent

  • I often find that people confuse inner peace with some sense of insensibility whenever something goes wrong. In such cases inner peace is a permit for destruction: The unyielding optimist will pretend that the forest is not burning either because he is too lazy or too afraid to go and put the fire out. Criss Jami
  • There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, “Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,” and an optimist who says, “Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway.” Either way, nothing happens. Yvon Chouinard
  • Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I’m a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst-case scenario. I call it ‘the eaten by wolves factor.’ If I do something, what’s the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do. Randy Pausch
  • There is an optimism which nobly anticipates the eventual triumph of great moral lows, and there is an optimism which cheerfully tolerates unworthiness. Agnes Repplier
  • Complacency


  • I am optimistic and confident in all that I do. I affirm only the best for myself and others.  I am the creator of my life and my world.  I meet daily challenges gracefully and with complete confidence.  I fill my mind with positive, nurturing, and healing thoughts.   Alice Potter

On a lighter note



  • An optimist in Canada is someone who thinks things could be worse.  Preston Manning
  • An optimist is a fellow who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.  George Jean Nathan
  • An optimist is a fellow who believes what’s going to be will be postponed.  Frank Kin’ Hubbard
  • An optimist is a girl who mistakes a bulge for a curve.  Ring Lardner
  • An optimist is a man who gets treed by a lion but enjoys the scenery.  Winchell Walter
  • An optimist is a man who has never had much experience.  Don Marquis
  • An optimist is a man who starts a crossword puzzle with a fountain pen.
  • An optimist is a person who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.  George Jean Nathan
  • An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.  Irv Kupcinet
  • An optimist is someone who figures that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s the bluebird of happiness. Robert Brault
  • An optimist is someone who gets treed by a lion but enjoys the scenery.  Walter Winchell
  • An optimist is someone who isn’t sure whether life is a tragedy or a comedy but is tickled silly just to be in the play. Robert Brault
  • Optimism: That effervescent, blindingly- bright, perky, chipper, twittering quality you want to squash out of annoying people. Richelle E. Goodrich
  • Optimist: A person who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.
  • Optimist: A middle-aged man who believes that the cleaners have been shrinking the waistband of his pants.
  • Optimist: An anti-skeptic.
  • Optimist: Day-dreamer more elegantly spelled.  Mark Twain
  • Optimist: Person who travels on nothing from nowhere to happiness.  Mark Twain
  • Optimist: someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha. Robert Brault
  • Optimist: Someone who tells you to cheer up when things are going his way.
  • Optimist: The sort of man who marries his sister’s best friend.  L. Mencken

Optimists verse pessimists

  • A pessimist is a man who has been compelled to live with an optimist. Elbert Hubbard
  • A pessimist is a man who thinks all women are bad. An optimist is a man who hopes they are. Chauncey Mitchell Depew
  • A pessimist is a person who has had to listen to too many optimists.  Don Marquis
  • A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them. Leonard Louis Levinson
  • An optimist believes that we live in the best world. A pessimist is afraid that it might be true.
  • An optimist is merely an ex-pessimist with his pockets full of money, his digestion in good condition, and his wife in the country. Helen Rowland
  • An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.  Bill Vaughan
  • An optimist thinks this is the best of all worlds; a pessimist fears the same may be true.  Doug Larson
  • An optimist will tell you the glass is half-full; the pessimist, half-empty; and the engineer will tell you the glass is twice the size it needs to be.
  • Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.  Gil Stern
  • Pessimist: A man who thinks all women are bad. An optimist is a man who hopes they are.
  • Pessimist’ is a word used by optimists to describe someone who sees the world for what it really is.  Terry Pratchett
  • The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. James Branch Cabell
  • The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole. Oscar Wilde
  • The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose. Khalil Gibran
  • The pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties. Reginald B. Mansell
  • The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Winston Churchill
  • An optimist expects his dreams to come true; a pessimist expects his nightmares to. Laurence J. Peter

More light-hearted quotes

  • A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will’s freedom after it. Aldous Huxley
  • A cynic is only a frustrated optimist.
  • Always look on the bright side of life. Otherwise it’ll be too dark to read.
  • Confucius say optimist is a person who doesn’t understand the enormity of the problem.   Confucius
  • I’m an optimist, but I’m an optimist who carries a raincoat. Harold Wilson
  • If an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say, in a pleasant and hopeful voice, “Well, this isn’t too bad. I don’t have my left arm anymore, but at least nobody will ever ask me whether I am right-handed or left-handed,” but most of us would say something more along the lines of “Aaaaah! My arm! My arm!” Lemony Snicket
  • It’s still possible to be a cockeyed optimist these days — you just have to be a little more cockeyed. Robert Brault
  • Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life Martin E. P. Seligman
  • An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out? René Descartes
  • My kids are very optimistic. Every glass they leave sitting around the house is at least half full.
  • My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud. Henry Rollins
  • Of course I look at the glass half full. The only time I would look at it half empty is when I think about how good the first half tasted. Drew Deyoung
  • Pessimism: A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.  Ambrose Bierce
  • The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser — in case you thought optimism was dead. Robert Brault
  • The basis of optimism is sheer terror. Oscar Wilde
  • The man who is a pessimist before forty-eight knows too much; if he is an optimist after it he knows too little.  Mark Twain
  • The point of living, and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come. Peter Ustinov
  • There’s many a pessimist who got that way by financing an optimist.
  • Confucius say optimist is a man who hasn’t had many experiences yet.   Confucius