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Introduction . Benefits . Evidence . Programs


Optimism is one of the most powerful predictors of future achievement.

Optimism is a learned habit of thought and has a very large impact on your feelings and behaviour. Evidence has shown that optimism has a significant influence on health, happiness and achievement.

Dr Martin Seligman in over 30 years research has shown optimists to be more successful than equally talented pessimists in business, education, sport and politics.

Over 500 studies around the world have proven the validity of the Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ), the proven measure of optimism, as a predictor of performance, mood and motivation.

Optimistic people are more likely to be determined, decisive and persistent. They believe they will achieve success frequently and their failures will be short lived. Their optimism inspires them to achieve success.

Australian Business Training workshops and training packages have built-in elements of Learned Optimism. They show how to recognise thinking habits and build more optimistic and resilient attitudes that will lead to success and enjoyment.



An optimistic thinking style has proven to be a primary factor in long term success, especially in challenging or high adversity roles like; leadership, sales and call centres.

Optimists are those who have a special way of explaining the cause of life events. They tend to see adversity or setbacks as temporary, isolated events that they don't take personally.

Research shows:

  • Optimists set higher objectives and have a stronger commitment to their goals.
  • Optimists are resilient, they have the staying power for success in the long haul.
  • Optimists are persistent, they have the mindset that problems and adversities can be overcome.
  • Optimists cope better with change, this gives them the flexibility to manage with new circumstances and a changing environment.
  • Optimists bounce back quickly from rejection and setbacks.
  • Optimists focus on how it can be done and not why it can't be done.
  • Optimists have more inner security.
  • Optimists see success as being permanent and each success motivates and spurs them on to achieve higher ideals.
  • Optimists have an expectation that they can influence and control their results and therefore they try harder.
  • Optimists have the attitudinal skills to manage their motivation during difficult times.
  • Optimists produce more than pessimists particularly when the going gets tough.
  • Optimists are healthier and have less days off work.
  • Optimists are less likely to quit their jobs.



A person's SASQ score predicts how they will respond to adversity and pressure; whether they will attack and overcome it or give up and let it defeat them. The following are highlights of selected SASQ validation studies that illustrate the strong relationship between optimism and sales success:

  • Financial Services
    Optimistic salespeople outsell the pessimists by 38%.
    Extremely optimistic salespeople outsell the extreme pessimists by 88%.

    Pessimistic salespeople are twice as likely to quit as optimists.
    Extremely pessimistic salespeople are three times more likely to quit than extreme optimists.

  • Real Estate
    Optimistic sales agents outsell the pessimists by 33%.
    Extremely optimistic agents outsell the extreme pessimists by 319%.
  • Automotive
    Optimistic salespeople outsell the pessimists by 20%.
    Optimistic managers outperform the pessimists by 27%.
  • Telecommunications
    Optimistic salespeople outsell the pessimists by 20%.
    Optimistic managers outperform the pessimists by 27%.
  • Office Products
    Optimistic salespeople outsell the pessimists by 19%.
  • Pharmaceutical
    Top producing representatives are 26% more optimistic than low producers.
  • Banking
    Top performing representatives are 25% more optimistic than below average performers.
  • Customer Service
    Top performers are 50% more optimistic than below average performers.
  • Optimism predicted achievement in a variety of other situations.

  • School
    Optimism predicted school achievement among elementary school students.
  • University
    Optimism predicted grades among college undergraduates.
  • Military Academy
    Optimism predicted grades and drop outs among Cadets at West Point Military Academy.
  • Politics
    Optimism predicted the winner of 18 out of the last 22 presidential elections. As well as the margin of victory.
  • Sport - Individuals
    Optimism predicted performance in top ranked college swimmers.
  • Sport - Teams
    NBA (basketball) & National League (baseball)
    These teams combined optimism predicted how the teams would perform in the following year.
  • Health
    Optimists have a higher chance of surviving certain serious illness.
    Optimists live, on average, 19% longer than pessimists.
  • Happiness
    Optimists are happier and have less depression than pessimists.
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