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Overcome Negative Thoughts and Build Optimism

A general advice on focusing on positive thoughts and less on negative thoughts. I found this will very helpful for me for now and in the future to fight for my thoughts and focus on what’s important. Hopefully this could also be inspiration for anyone else. Special thanks for Talk at Google and Happify to share.


Pessimist Optimist
see threats see opportunities
notice and expect bad notice bad and turn that into fuel to move
doesn't solve anything, getting stuck at thinking act to he/she can control

Effects on Pessimism-Optimism

Pessimist Optimist
tends to live longer 7-9 y
tends to have more immune system, sick less frequently
2-3 less heart problem
tends to do better at school

Optimism Can be Learnt!


took a look at negative thought;

Is this negative thoughts something to overcome?

Some negative thoughts could be helpful, such as:

  • You think you forgot to attend a friend party, and you apologize immediately


e.g: You have awkward conversation in your first day of work and you think “I’m not going to be anyone’s friend here”.

You are blowing your first experience to your whole career and that’s not at all true!

All-or-Nothing Thinking

e.g: you have performance review with supervisor, and you got “Meet Expectation” mark. But then you thought that you were underperform.

That’s not true! there’s a huge huge gap between meeting expectation and not meeting it.

Disqualifying the Positive

e.g: Your boss says that “You’ve done a great job”. But then you only think that “He’s just being nice”.

You’re basically throwing positive feedback right into the trash!

Mind Reading

e.g: You’re throwing ideas in a group and nobody comments. But then you think “I’m must be an idiot”

You are probably making false assumption!

Emotional Reasoning

e.g: You are in a bad mood, you feel that somebody is not competent to work with you. Again, Not True!


When we blame ourselves for the environment.

e.g: Boss in a bad mood and you think this is because of you

Not True!

Ask! yourself: “Is it true?” “Is it helpful?”


Is this right?

Get Into the Flow

flow You can do whatever excite you!

  • Work
  • Study
  • Hobbies
  • Exercise
  • Art
  • Music

Build Positive Emotion

  • Humor
  • Confidence
  • Gratitude: who you are grateful for today? -> help to shift your focus

Focus Outward

Focus on helping somebody, will help you to shift your focus


Come back and start fight. Most of negative thoughts requires more than

Prove it Wrong

Use this: My [activity]_ goes well, because ___

Confirmation Bias. e.g: You present something and you notice 2 people playing their phone. It makes you thinking only about 2 people, you might not noticing 10 people that actually engage in your presentation and asking questions.

Reframe It

If you cannot prove that is false.


Should I let this negative thought determine my response?

Let it Go


Meditate Mindfullness ACT (Acceptance Communication Theraphy)

Write About It!

when people write about it, getting out your thoughts out of your head. You tends to re-think your thoughts.

Act Anyway


We are not our thoughts




[1] Talk at Google: Overcome Negative Thoughts and Build Optimism

Written on December 11, 2018