Optimists look on the bright side of life, see that there’s still water in the glass, and say it’s half full. Pessimists look at the glass after taking a drink, decide the glass is half empty, and might even worry about running out of water. Realists just see a glass of water, whether it contains a lot of sips or just a few.
None of these views is wrong; they’re just different ways of seeing the world. But when you’re more optimistic about everything, you’re not looking for the negatives in every situation. You worry less because you’re not “borrowing trouble.” You believe that good things really do come your way, and your day-to-day life becomes more manageable. The wisest approach to life probably lies somewhere between being an optimist and a realist. But no matter how you tend to look at things, you can always choose happiness. Happiness is relative, meaning that you can choose to be a positive person and always look for that silver lining—even when your life seems to be filled with stormy clouds.
Cadettes earning their Science of Happiness badge know that you have to think differently for happiness. Let’s say you’re dealing with a situation at school in which a classmate isn’t treating you very kindly. No matter what’s happening, you can always control how you think about a situation, and how you cope with it. Are you really going to let this one person’s nastiness make you totally miserable? How about looking around for the people who care about you? They are the ones who really matter. When you remember to acknowledge all the other people you know who are kind and loving, and consciously choose to remember the joy they bring to your life, you’re looking on the bright side of things.
Take our Science of Happiness quiz to evaluate your attitudes, find out how you’re doing so far, and consider making some uplifting improvements to your outlook. Scientists say that people who stay positive, or are optimistic, are happier, even if bad things happen! So if you’re having a rough time today, take a moment to look around you and focus on the good things in your life. The next positive step comes as you share your happiness with the world. Visit Kindness Travels to leave a feel-good message of support for another Girl Scout who can benefit from your optimism. Now you’re really using the Science of Happiness to make your world the happiest place it can be.