The following advice is taken from Professor Martin Seligman's books Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness.
Be optimistic, and consciously use optimism building techniques
Don't use optimism techniques
- If you are in an achievement situation (getting a promotion, selling a product, writing a difficult report, winning a game)
- If you are concerned about how you will feel (fighting off depression, keeping up your morale)
- If the situation is apt to be protracted and your physical health is an issue
- If you want to lead and inspire others.
DO NOT USE OPTIMISM, OR ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO, WHEN THE COST OF FAILURE IS HIGH.
- If your goal is to plan for a risky and uncertain future
- If your goal is to counsel others whose future is dim don't use optimism initially
- If you want to appear sympathetic to the troubles of others don't begin with optimism though you can work towards it when their confidence picks up.