Resilience and Optimism

Someone that I admire and enjoy being around with at CARFAX where I work shared two words with me, optimism and resilience. This got me thinking about deeper questions such as:

  • How do you keep going when your plans never work out quite the way you want?
  • How can you tap into an ever-flowing fountain of energy and optimism?

Shared in here are the key concepts. Although you may have heard of these concepts before, just know that the concepts are available in the 10% Happier meditation app. The people mentioned here actually teach these concepts in that app. Here’s one concept:

There’s no such thing as failure, just feedback. – George Mumford

Putting yourself down after failing to achieve something doesn’t serve anyone. Let it go. Instead, look at the results of your efforts as just feedback for you, a dynamic and wonderfully adaptable human being.

Aspiration vs Expectation

Aspiration is great. As Joseph Goldstein shares, that’s what motivates us towards action. Expectation is an unhealthy attachment to results. Expectation doesn’t serve. The smart move is to aspire towards achieving goals and then use the results of your efforts as feedback towards the next move you make.

Loving All aka Agape

When it comes to optimism and resilience, a wonderful and powerful way to tap into optimism and resilience is by connecting with your love / agape for your fellow human being. Especially after driving in heavy traffic, it’s possible you don’t feel like you have any agape for your fellow human. As Sharon Salzberg shares, there are ways to train your mind towards acknowledging and experiencing such a connection.

“What’s in it for me?”, you might ask. As George Mumford says, “Humans are wired for altruism.” We are wired to work together as a whole team. What gets in the way are the way we organize ourselves and the way we frame our look on life.

This connection gives us energy, helps you to connect with others, and fosters a more productive environment. In short, you get more done and you will feel good doing it.


Just as powerful as tapping into your agape for humanity is living your life according to a mission. My personal mission statement is to help make paradise on earth. Maximizing human flourishing is the goal. This serves everyone, even me. This tweet sums it up nicely:

Enjoy and Share

There you have it. As I said in Gamification Journey of FinneyCanHelp, we have evolved such that we need each other. Our support of others through teamwork and how we organize is our collective strength. If each of us use our talents to their fullest and support human flourishing, we can truly make paradise on earth.

Now, please share the concepts. Share the source of those concepts such as this article or mention the 10% Happier app. Most importantly, share your success and support others in their success. We’re all in this together. As Sharon Salzberg put it, we’re going to sink or swim together. Together, we win.

9 thoughts on “Resilience and Optimism

  1. says

    Many things in life are worth struggling to attain. That’s an interesting quirk you could say we have in our machinery. I have to remind myself of this sometimes. It has definitely helped me write my recent novel!

    Thank you for reminding us of you 10,000th tweet! Actualizing potential is awesome. We don’t know how much potential each of us has! Just got to go find out!

  2. says

    I like your (or Goldstein’s) discernment between expectation and aspiration. I can see how it applies to endgame-style thinking like goals.

    However, when applied to progress-style thinking, expectations don’t seem so unhealthy to me. Eg. “I expect myself to always do my best” or “I expect to be a better person tomorrow.”

    What do you think?

    • Well, the short phrase that sums up a lot is “whatever works for you.” 🙂
      For me and for Joseph Goldstein, aspiration is how I am generating and directing my energy toward something. If I expect something, there’s an implied attachment to the result turning out a certain way. In other words, I can get hung up on not getting what I want if things don’t turn out the way that I expect.
      I guess the questions back to you would be, what if you expect to do your best and expect to be a better person tomorrow, but tomorrow you don’t feel like you lived up to your ideal self? Have you just compared yourself to an ideal-self? If so, aren’t you causing yourself some unnecessary suffering due to the comparing-mind?

  3. says

    The ideal self is endgame thinking, so aspirations are better here. I aspire towards my ideal self, a lofty goal I’ll never reach. I also aspire to take over the world. I don’t expect to take over the world, because of the implied attachment to the endgame.

    When applied to progress thinking, however, the expectation is set at a level in which I won’t fail (eg. I expect to be wiser tomorrow) The attachment to outcome is there, but instead of focusing on my “what if” fears of failure, I choose to leverage that attachment as a self-motivator, confidence-booster, self-worth-producer, and gratitude-generator. I feel good when I meet my expectations, so am motivated by my future self being proud of me. I am grateful for the opportunity to raise my confidence and self-worth through honest work. Self-worth has always been an issue, since I usually suck at meeting others’ expectations. It’s a nice way to generate it from within.

    • Mike Finney says

      Fantastic comments, Yuri! Example: “The ideal self is endgame thinking” Well put.

        • I apologize for taking so long in moderating / approving and replying to this question, Alex. If someone else doesn’t reply soon by what they originally meant (due to time constraints), I shall expand on the phrase and what it means to me. 🙂

        • says

          To me, endgame thinking is a top-down approach to motivational thought. You fixate on a desired goal, or outcome…(or as I call it, a vision) until it becomes reality. It doesn’t even matter if the goal is attainable, although it helps if the idea of it is at least possible. You can create a vision of your #futureself living a desired life and aspire to it.