Episode 2: Recklessly Optimistic Until Proven Otherwise

Hello, hello, my friends, and welcome to episode two of The Work Of Becoming podcast! Quick business item before we jump into this week. So, this week, I am releasing a five-minute episode every single day as a way to launch the podcast and give you all a preview of what is to come. In the future, we will be launching episodes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays until I decide otherwise which I’m sure at some point I will change things up. But we’re starting it off. We’re doing it messy, and so, that is the schedule for the time being.

You can always find our podcast transcripts at karinn4.sg-host.com/blog. I believe very heavily in accessibility, and so, we will always have those transcripts available, and I wanted to remind you that we are doing a little giveaway. So, all you have to do is you have to comment on my original podcast post. You have to share that post or you have to rate and review the podcast, and then you submit a little form that’s linked in my bio (and I will link it in the show notes as well) that just says that you did those things so that we can keep track.

So, if you are loving what you’ve heard so far or you’re excited about it, please, please, please do enter that giveaway because we are giving away a lifetime membership to Change Academy.

All right, let’s dig into things. Today, what I want to talk to you about is one of my personal mantras and a lesson that I’ve learned in my first 29 years of life. So, when I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about for this podcast, I knew for the first couple of episodes, since we are launching after my birthday, I wanted to really think about the most important lessons that I’ve learned about change. Besides “The Work Of Becoming,” one of my other playlists on Spotify and one of my other kind of mantras or go-tos that has carried me through life is the phrase “be recklessly optimistic until proven otherwise.”

I want to talk about that for a minute because I am very much not in the camp of toxic positivity, right? I don’t believe that being positive or thinking happy thoughts all the time is necessarily helpful for us as human beings. However, I think positivity is slightly different than optimism, and I want to talk about a cognitive bias that we can have as humans called fortune telling.

So, one of the things that we do as humans is we believe that we can predict the future. We believe that we can see into the future, and we for sure know that something is going to happen a particular way based on our past experiences. So, for example, you might say, “Oh, I know this habit I’m going to pick up, it’s going to be just like that last habit that I picked up, and I’m gonna be great for a week, and then I’m going to drop off.” Or, let’s say it’s the holidays and you know that you don’t eat the way you want to eat when you’re away on holiday. Maybe you’ll say to yourself, “Well, I know I’m gonna get screwed over,” or, “I know this is going to happen.”

So, that is actually something called a cognitive distortion which is really like an error that our brain’s algorithm makes. That particular cognitive distortion, fortune telling, can really mess with us because it essentially creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, if you go into a situation thinking, “I know for sure this is gonna go poorly,” your brain is going to scan your environment and pay attention to what’s happening, and it’s going to focus the most of its attention on reinforcing what you already believe, okay? When you walk into a situation and you’re looking for something to go wrong, you are more likely to spot the little things that go wrong. It’s the same thing as if I were to send you into the room and, before, I were to prime you and say, “Hey, I want you to pay attention to the color red.” You would walk into that room and immediately see way more red than you would have if I didn’t give you that priming.

And so, going back to what I was first talking about, that is why I choose to be recklessly optimistic until proven otherwise. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t anticipate obstacles. Obviously, that’s something we talk about a lot in coaching. That doesn’t mean that I don’t plan realistically or compassionately. But it does mean that I do my best to enter every situation believing that the outcome that I want is possible. The thing about belief, which I’ll talk about on another episode, is that belief is a practice. It’s not just you automatically believe something or you don’t. If you want to adopt a new belief, you have to practice it very strategically.

So, as you go about your day today, I encourage you to practice or try on the idea of being recklessly optimistic until proven otherwise. When your brain wants to say, “What if it all goes wrong,” I want you to do the opposite what if, and I want you to ask yourself what if it all goes right?

That is what I’ve got for you today. Last quick business item: if you are a Change Academy member, today The Vault opens. So, if you are a person interested in change, I have been doing one-and-a-half hour science-based workshops on a variety of topics since December. If you are a Change Academy member or you want to join Change Academy, those are now available for purchase through Change Academy! There are workshops on how to follow through. There are workshops on self-regulation, time management, all of these sort of concrete skills I talk about in my post. I’ve done these in-depth deep-dive workshops since the beginning of Change Academy, and we are selling them individually to Change Academy Members.

The Vault is only open until Friday at midnight, so make sure you don’t miss out on that. Otherwise, I will see you all back here tomorrow for the next episode! Thank you for being here, rate and review, and I will see you tomorrow.


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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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