You can exercise optimism

Optimism Training: Training the optimistic view through imagination exercises

You have to train an optimistic view if it is to become part of your flesh and blood.

Imagination exercises can be of great help here. Let's look at an example.

Matthias, a client, is an insurance broker. When he came into therapy, he was very discouraged and depressed.

He found it very difficult to deal with rejections and was quickly discouraged if a customer did not want to take out insurance with him.

He came to me because he wanted to learn how to deal better with a no or because he would not be discouraged by a no, but still wanted to be optimistic about the next customer and the one after that.

I asked Matthias to write an ABC of a situation in which a potential customer rejected him.

Step 1:Creating an ABC

A.: Situation
Sitting at home on the phone and want to call the next customer

B: My thoughts
"I'm sure the next customer will reject me as well. I'm just not good for a good salesperson. I don't succeed either. I'll never get anywhere. I hate calling."

C: Feelings and behavior
I am discouraged and listless, I feel helpless, I am depressed, I do not feel like calling another customer, I am spellbound in front of the phone.

What do you think does his self-talk help or hurt Matthias more? Well you know the answer. If Matthias thinks like this, then he must feel discouraged and unsuccessful.

It is impossible for him to be optimistic and motivated in the face of such negative thoughts.

If he wants to feel differently, if he wants to approach his work with more optimism, then he has to replace his pessimistic self-talk with more realistic or optimistic ones.

So he has to think about how he wants to feel about himself, his work and calling customers.

Step 2:Checking your thoughts with the two rules of realistic thinking

His self-talk does not correspond to the facts, because he cannot know whether the next customer will reject him, whether he will achieve something or not, whether he is a good salesman or not.

His claim that he is not going anywhere does not correspond to the facts, since he has already successfully taken out insurance.

And how does Matthias feel when he thinks like that? He's bound to feel discouraged and depressed.

When he realized this, he formulated some helpful or realistic thoughts. These looked like this:

B: My realistic thoughts
"I cannot look into the future and know whether or not I will be more successful with the next customer. I know very well that only a certain percentage of customers take out insurance. It is the same with me and my colleagues too. If one or the other customer doesn’t close, that doesn’t mean that I’m not a good seller. It just means that I cannot always be successful. I’ll call the next customer now. I have shown in the past that I can sell So I'll do more deals, if not today, then tomorrow. "

So Matthias now knows how to think instead in such a situation. He has a thought alternative to his pessimistic thought program.

What now? He has to practice it - until he automatically thinks that way when a customer rejects him.

Step 3:Practicing realistic self-talk in the imagination

One way Matthias practiced his realistic self-talk was to substitute his pessimistic thoughts as often as they came up. Imagination exercises helped him.

Several times a day he took a few minutes to picture himself sitting in front of the phone trying to call the next customer.

As he imagined this, he repeated his helpful thoughts to himself: "I cannot look into the future and know whether or not I will be more successful with the next customer. I know very well that only a certain percentage of customers take out insurance. It is the same with me and my colleagues too. If one or the other customer doesn’t close, that doesn’t mean that I’m not a good seller. It just means that I cannot always be successful. I’ll call the next customer now. I have shown in the past that I can sell So I'll do more deals, if not today, then tomorrow. "

The more he practiced this way, the more he felt his aversion to the calls diminish, and the less he felt at the mercy of the situation.

He used every opportunity to practice his realistic thoughts in his imagination, e.g. in situations in which he had to wait - when shopping at the cash register, when stopping at traffic lights, in the elevator, etc.

Do this too. Choose a situation in which you would like to learn to replace your pessimistic mindset with a more realistic one.

Do an ABC, check your thoughts with the help of the two questions, formulate realistic self-talk and practice them in your imagination.

Practicing in the imagination makes it much easier for you to use optimistic thinking in practice.

Here are some things to keep in mind: First, choose only one situation in which you want to feel in control of yourself and your feelings.

Only when you have made satisfactory progress in one situation should you move on to the next.

If you tackle too many situations at once, you will not make any real progress in any of them. So: one by one. OK?