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Politics, the economy, souring relationships, low job satisfaction, poor health—those are only a handful of reasons that drive people to pessimism. I, too, used to have major bouts with pessimism, certainly never breaching the plane of a very cautious optimist. But now I am an unabashed optimist. What has made the difference is what I have allowed to be put into my mind. Below I detail some of the best material I listen to on an almost daily basis.

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Dan Miller's Podcast - This podcast has been the most influential in changing my attitude. You cannot listen to a few episodes without feeling more optimistic. His is a question-and-answer show based a lot on career issues. No matter what the questions are about, though, you will find ideas that will help you follow your passion and change your life. At 48 minutes long, you can listen to it every day.

Dave Ramsey's Radio Show - Dave's podcast is centered around financial issues, especially getting out of debt. Dave has changed my wife and my financial lives. Instead of having credit cards, car payments, mortgages, and everything else that you "need," we live simply and within our means. How can you not be optimistic when you don't owe anyone a dime?

Think and Grow Rich - The author, Napoleon Hill, conducted a twenty-five-year study to find the formula of success. Think and Grow Rich, written during the Depression, is the findings of that study. This is one of my all-time favorite books.

Tony Robbins - My wife and I listened to Unleash the Power Within on a recent road trip and it was awesome. This, along with the rest, really stresses taking personal responsibility for the circumstances in your life. The event that we listened to is the one that you walk on hot coals afterward. I think we could have done it.

Brian Tracy - My wife and I are most of the way through Goals, and it is another transformative book. You can download the ebook of Goals for free on his website.

Earl Nightingale - You'll see lots of parallels between this and Think and Grow Rich. Here is his Strangest Secret and the Essence of Success. He is great, and you'll love his voice.

Zig Ziglar - You'll love his voice, too. One of his most famous sayings is "If you help enough other people to get what they want, you'll get what you want." Here is The Secrets of Closing the SaleGoalsSuccess and the Self-Imageand See You at the Top. The only problem with these is that they have commercials every 10 minutes. But you can skip the commercial after 5 seconds.

Optimism isn't something that you're born with: it's something that you have to create within yourself. Optimism is letting go of fear—and that's all pessimism is—and embracing faith in yourself and in God. You control your future.

What are some secrets you have for being optimistic?

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Comment by Frank Gifford on February 9, 2014 at 9:39am

One that works for me is to skip much of the news. A few years ago I would watch much of the political related shows, trying to get both sides. What a waste of time. Then recently with the Casey Anthony and George ZImmerman trials which were wall-to-wall coverage. And I had to ask myself, why am I even even keeping track of the details of these? The news coverage is non-stop negative. Even positive stories have some negative components to it where people had to overcome hardships.

Comment by Mike Cournia on February 6, 2014 at 5:39pm

The One Year Bible NLT!

I started into my 13th year of reading the On Year Bible. Nothing else comes close when it comes to building long-lasting optimism than God's Word.

Now, there are times during the day when where we feel we may have run out of gas emotionally. In my coaching I help people to bring to mind at least three past incidences where they were "in the zone". These are times when you were on top of your game with everything going right. It's those times that when you think about them you have the feeling that you are there again. You can feel, smell, hear, and taste the incident. In fully recalling that incident, you can feel the quick charge of your emotional batteries. Optimism happens! I'll blog more details next week. Go get 'em.

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