January 20, 2021
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Becoming optimistic in a chaotic world

By: Steven Campbell
November 8, 2019

The truth is, none of us know what will happen in 2020.

But numerous studies have concluded that we CAN see our lives more optimistically.  

A pessimist might say, “Well no wonder you’re optimistic, things go better for you than for me.”

But expecting better things for ourselves improves our odds. Many people think an upbeat attitude is entirely hardwired, but actually, studies with twins suggest that genes account for only part of the difference between individuals in optimism and pessimism. 

So here’s a Step-by-Step program from the UC Berkeley School of Education that can make you more optimistic as 2020 approaches.

The key to this study is taking 15 minutes…each day for two weeks (or less) to write it down! (Although I personally use Word for Windows.)

Write WHAT down? Ah ha! Keep on reading!

Day One: Spend 15 minutes writing and describing a scenario in which, in 2020, your romantic life, or your relationships, or your marriage have gone as well as they possibly could. 

Dear reader, don’t just imagine this! Take a few minutes to WRITE IT DOWN!  This time is for YOU…and no one else!  

Three tips to make your writing real

Focus on a brighter future!

All of us are tempted to remember ways our goals were never met, or financial/time/social barriers which stopped our goals from happening. 

For the purpose of this exercise, however, focus on the future—imagine a brighter future in which you are your best self and your circumstances change just enough to make this best possible life happen.  

Be as specific as possible

This exercise is most useful when it is very specific. When you think about a new job, imagine exactly what you would do, who you would work with and where it would be. Exactly how much will you weigh? How much money will you make? Where will you vacation, how long and what will you do?

An important point: Don’t get hung up on the specific steps to accomplish these goals. As the above drawing illustrates, you probably have the steps already in your mind. So when you take the time to clarify what they are, your brain gets busy determining how they can be met!

Be as creative as you want!

AND NO WHAT-IFS and do NOT worry about grammar or spelling.

Day two: Spend 15 minutes writing how you will make a certain amount of money in 2020 and what you will do with it.

Day three: Spend 15 minutes writing about how you will look physically, including how you will feel about yourself. 

In the remaining days, devote 15 minutes writing about your ideal hobbies or personal interests; your family life; your career situation; your social life, your community involvement, where you want to vacation, and anything else in your life that you want to do differently

What does this exercise do?

This exercise enables you to imagine your life going as well as it possibly could. By writing down the best possible future, you’ll not only increase your happiness in the present but pave the way for sustained happiness down the line.

What will this do for you?

By thinking about your best possible future self, you will learn more about yourself and your desires in life. 

It will help you restructure your priorities in life to reach your goals. 

Additionally, it will help you increase your sense of control over your life by highlighting what you need to do to achieve your dreams.

The results

People who completed showed increases in positive emotions right after the two-week study ended. Those who kept up with the exercise after the study was over showed increases in positive mood one month later. 

In fact, the study found that positive feelings lasted six months.

The most exciting part!

Studies have discovered something exciting about writing and our brain!

Taking the time to write not only helps us to learn new things about ourselves, it causes our brains to rewire themselves!

So while we are taking to time to sit down and write about our best possible life in 2020…your brain is rewiring itself, to the tune of about one million connections per second! 

It then actually looks for ways to make your writings become true in your life! THAT IS ITS JOB!

So your writing becomes, over time, how you think! And how you think becomes your mindset! And your mindset becomes WHO…YOU…ARE! 

A final story

Many years ago, I was giving a series of workshops to a group of realtors in Santa Rosa.

A realtor approached me during the break and pulled from her purse a photograph of a Lego model she had constructed of the house she wanted for herself and her family, right down to the bushes and trees.

And in looking for houses for her clients, she found that house and now lives there with her family.

Remember this, dear reader! If you don’t tell your brain what you want, it won’t know what to look for!


Steven Campbell is the author of “Making Your Mind Magnificent.” His seminar “Taming Your Mind, Unleashing Your Life” is now available online at  For more information, call Steven Campbell at 707-480-5507.