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Learning Optimism

In the classic positive psychology text, Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman, PhD discusses the importance of optimism in surviving and thriving through setbacks and failures. It is optimism that distinguishes the most successful from the rest.


Anatomically, optimism in the brain has been localized to the rostral anterior cingulate cortex and amygdala – two areas that can be strengthened with practice. As a minority in one’s chosen field, the stronger you can make these areas of your brain, the more you can persist through difficulties and discrimination with equanimity and ease.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” -Calvin Coolidge

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