Sunethra Jayaratne Nugawela explores how increasing your optimism can help you achieve your goals

Optimism is the beautiful feeling of hope, faith, and confidence that leads to great accomplishments. I was deeply moved by the words of Mary Lou Retton, as they resonated with my own values of compassion and empathy towards others.

Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people are drawn to you.

Mary Lou Retton

Optimism is a truly powerful mental attitude that can help you achieve success, happiness, and well-being. Embracing challenges as opportunities for growth and expansion, and having faith in a brighter tomorrow, will open closed doors. Optimism can strengthen coping mechanisms, reduce stress levels, and encourage dedication towards achieving goals.

Are You an Optimist?


  • tend to expect positive outcomes
  • view challenges as opportunities for growth
  • generally have a positive attitude towards themselves and others
  • are thankful for the things in their lives
  • take ownership of their mistakes
  • maintain a bright outlook on life, even in difficult times
  • attribute positive events to their actions
  • view negative events as temporary setbacks caused by external factors

Increase Your Optimism…

Optimism is a psychological trait shaped by genetics, upbringing, culture, and environment. Whilst these factors can influence our level of optimism, we can take charge of our attitude and mindset. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude can cultivate a sense of responsibility and contentment. We can learn to appreciate the simplicity in life and reflect on the good things that happen. This develops into resilience and makes us better equipped to handle the challenges that come our way.

Studies have shown that people who have a positive view of life tend to live longer, experience less stress, achieve more success, and enjoy better overall health. It is important to maintain a positive attitude to promote physical health and reduce the risk of disease. Optimists generally take a proactive approach to managing stress, which helps to reduce overall stress levels.

…But Don’t Go Too Far

Excessive optimism can be harmful. It can lead to risky behavior and poor risk assessment. A focus on maintaining a healthy and realistic approach is important, so we must acknowledge the difficulties of the situation we are in while still looking on the bright side. To avoid pitfalls, do not overvalue positive feelings. Do not undermine the emotional experiences of those going through difficult times.


In the journey of life, adopting an optimistic outlook can lead to positive transformations, both mentally and physically, in both your personal and professional domains. It may be worth exploring this approach, as it could potentially lead to a sense of accomplishment, empowerment, and enduring happiness. I urge you to try to enjoy the beauty of optimism!

Dr Sunethra Jayaratne Nugawela is the Chairperson and Executive Director of the Academy for Administrative Professionals in Sri Lanka and an Executive Secretary at SDB Bank. She is a trainer, coach, mentor, examiner, visiting lecturer and associate of the ... (Read More)

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