This research aims to investigate and review the Organizational Behaviour element which is “Optimism”, in order to relate and apply to the daily work and life. This topic is a very important concept that should be developed by theory and practice in management. The reason is because optimism does not only fit for a certain career but also in any kind of job. Conceptualization, research summary, and practical application of this concept will be explained further in the following paragraphs.
In terms of theory, optimism is a global expectation that more good things than bad will happen in the future. For example; faith, hope, positive expectations, and etc. This concept is usually affected by experience, role models (e.g. parents, idol, successful person), psychological training programs and many more. The person who has a good optimism are called an optimist while those who have a bad optimism called pessimist (Diener, 2000). Optimists are usually describing the negative things, experience, and future prediction by applying them to external, transient, specific factors which can be the prevailing circumstances.
For example, “I can do better on the next exam.” On the other hand, pessimists are likely to demonstrate negative events by blaming them to internal, stable, and global factors. For example, “Why am I so stupid!” Comparing these 2 characters, optimists are likely better in their academic and sport performance, easier to gain success in their career and marital satisfaction, more resilience which makes less depression when facing problem such as stressful events, and are healthier than pessimists.
Seligman (1998) has defined optimism as an attributional style that explains positive events in terms of personal, permanent, and persuasive causes and negative causes and negative events in terms of external, temporary, and situation-specific ones. He also defines this as the attribution mechanisms of optimism, especially for negative events and failures, are not limited to the self but also include external causes such as other people or situational factors. Since this time, the definition of optimism has developed a wider understanding relating to the expert’s arguments.
This concept is very important because based on Youssef and Luthans’s Article (2007), it is written that optimism can help the people to have a very hopeful individual from striving for impossible goals. It also mitigates a self-inflicted sense of guilt and personal responsibility when the constant emergence and escalation of blockages and problems threatens to render a goal, unachievable. Moreover, Thoits (1994) identifies optimism as uniquely essential for managing and adapting other resources to achieve favourable outcomes. Which means, this is important for performance beyond what may be accounted for by any one of them.
In other similar concept of optimism, positivity is the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude. Some contrasts can be seen between these 2 concepts. Dr. Jenny’s article (2013) says that positivity will tend to dichotomous and delusional to be based in reality. The affirmation is not substantiated and only give a wrong sense of reality which the person may not be prepared to deal with life in the real world. While optimists do not rely on false reality. They contribute the uncertainty of life and believes in their own capacity to deal with their life. They accept that there will be failures and successes.
In this research summary, some elaboration regarding the antecedents (history), external & internal factors (input) and consequences (output) of ‘Optimism’ will be discussed through major research findings. Antecedents of the attributes of optimism were not clearly identified in the literature, even optimism has been known as necessary to survival as air (Tiger,1979). however, Stubblefield (1995) mentioned that the antecedents of optimism include; probability of success, increased self-esteem, internal locus of control, and unrealistic appraisal of ability. This can be seen through the concept of optimism which is gaining a positive outcome expectation for the present and the future events linking to a feeling of a person as encourage the competence and reaction towards conditions and situations.
The factors affecting optimism includes experience, and role models psychological training programs. Experience attract some encouragement by making the person realise that they have been through something difficult in the past and giving mindset of the ability facing problems and challenges in the future. Role models give the person motivation to improve their performance and support them to achieve their goals. While psychological training programs usually take place in one of the transformational leadership dimension which is inspirational motivation.
In terms of consequences, optimists expect relying on coping strategies that contrast to the pessimist facing problems (Strack et al., 1987). This includes ability to identify attainable goals, persistence in perceiving goals, and hope for positivity. People says that your mind controls your body which is related to the optimistic person because the psychological mindset prevent the negativity and illness. Moreover, optimists also showed increased resistance to the growth of depression.
By only knowing this concept without applying to our daily life is useless. Firstly, you must set your goals in order to know your target. For example, “I want to get HD on this assignment.” Secondly, you have to create some positive ‘mantras’ to be repeated either say it out loud or just in your mind. For example, “Yes! I will get HD” In order to achieve your goals, you have to be optimist by being persistent and focusing on your success.
For example, I have to give my best on this assignment by putting in the most effort as I could. Last but not least, we have to focus on the solution rather than the problem. This will give you some benefits because by eliminating the problem with solution, you will find some alternative ways to achieve your goals. For example, I keep doing research and gaining information in order to get deeper understanding about optimism rather than thinking about how I’m going to fail this assignment.
On the other hand, some obstacles and problems may occur during this process. (Morin, 2015) Being optimistic might not be so effective because the fact that its statistically impossible for 80% of us to be average which will can be harmful because the person is become overly inflated sense of self isn’t realistic. An overly optimistic person can lead to arrogance if they are not careful. The person will likely to underestimate challenges that make them unprepared. By always thinking positive, It can hold you back from achieving the great potential, because of the confusion between positive thinking and magical thinking which people do not realise that everything does not come instantly. Furthermore, unrealistic optimism can cause people to reject or deny the warning signs of trouble and problem.
In order to gain this concept in appropriate way, we have to balance our developed thoughts, people inner dialogue effects the way they feel and behave and if they are focusing too much on positive things, it will lead to detrimental effects. But if we are smart enough to balance the way we think, being an optimist is a good way to achieve our goals.