The Three Ps of Optimism by David Ogilve

To nurture success and wellbeing you need to understand your thinking style when you hit setbacks. That's where optimism comes in. 

Optimism plays a vital role in our professional lives, shaping our mindset and influencing our approach to challenges and opportunities. By understanding and embracing the Three Ps of Optimism – Personalization, Permanence, and Pervasiveness - we can foster resilience, enhance productivity, and cultivate a positive work environment. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of these Three Ps, provide practical tips, and examine their impact on success and wellbeing at work.


Personalisation refers to our tendency to internalise negative experiences and attribute them to personal factors. When faced with setbacks or failures, individuals who engage in personalisation tend to blame themselves excessively, assuming full responsibility for the outcome. This mindset can erode confidence and hinder growth.

To cultivate optimism and wellbeing, it’s essential to recognise that not all outcomes are solely a result of our individual actions or abilities. Here are some practical tips to incorporate personalisation:

  • Practice self-awareness: Notice when you tend to internalise failures and setbacks. Reflect on whether you are attributing them solely to personal factors. Challenge the tendency to blame yourself excessively.
  • Embrace self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding when faced with challenges. Remember that setbacks are part of the learning process and not a reflection of your worth.
  • Seek feedback and perspective: Reach out to trusted colleagues or mentors for their input on situations. They can offer alternative viewpoints and help you gain a more balanced view.
  • Focus on strengths: Recognise and leverage your unique skills and abilities. Acknowledge your accomplishments and the value you bring to the workplace. You can shift your focus from self-blame to self-empowerment by highlighting your strengths.
  • Practice positive self-talk: Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Encourage and motivate yourself by focusing on your capabilities and past successes. Remember that setbacks are temporary and do not define your overall abilities or potential.


Permanence relates to our belief in the duration of positive or negative experiences. Optimistic individuals understand that setbacks and difficulties are temporary and that positive outcomes can be long-lasting. This perspective enables individuals to bounce back from challenges and setbacks more effectively.

To cultivate permanence and maintain a positive outlook, consider the following tips:

  • Adopt a growth mindset: Embrace the belief that skills and abilities can be developed over time. See setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning rather than permanent indicators of failure.
  • Focus on progress: Celebrate small wins and milestones along your professional journey. Recognise that progress is a continuous process and that setbacks are temporary roadblocks on the path to success.
  • Grab the good: Cultivate a mindset of appreciation for the positive aspects of your work. Acknowledge the long-lasting impact of achievements and express gratitude for the opportunities that come your way.
  • Set realistic expectations: Understand that success takes time and effort. Avoid expecting immediate results and instead focus on steady progress. Setting realistic expectations allows you to maintain motivation and avoid getting discouraged by temporary setbacks.
  • Develop resilience: Build your resilience muscles by embracing challenges and setbacks as opportunities for personal growth. Adaptability and perseverance are key attributes of resilient individuals who thrive in dynamic work environments.


Pervasiveness refers to the extent to which we generalise the impact of events across various aspects of our lives. Pessimistic individuals tend to let negative experiences spill over into other areas, leading to a sense of helplessness and a belief that everything is going wrong.

To prevent the pervasiveness of negativity and maintain a positive work-life balance, consider the following tips:

  • Practice compartmentalisation: When faced with a setback, avoid letting it affect other areas of your work or personal life. Recognise that one challenging situation does not define your overall situation.
  • Seek support and connection: Build a strong support network at work that can provide encouragement and help you maintain a positive perspective. Collaborate with colleagues and foster a sense of teamwork.
  • Create work-life balance: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Dedicate time and energy to activities outside of work that bring you joy and fulfilment, ensuring that challenges in one area do not overshadow the others.
  • Practice self-care: Prioritise self-care activities that promote relaxation, rejuvenation, and overall wellbeing. Engage in activities such as exercise, mindfulness, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones to recharge and maintain a positive mindset.
  • Foster a positive work environment: Actively contribute to a positive work culture by promoting kindness, respect, and support among colleagues. Encourage collaboration, celebrate achievements, and offer assistance when needed. By fostering positivity in your workplace, you can create a supportive and motivating atmosphere for yourself and others.

Wrapping up

Incorporating the Three Ps of Optimism – Personalization, Permanence, and Pervasiveness – into our professional lives can enhance our overall wellbeing, drive success, and contribute to a positive and supportive work environment. By adopting an optimistic mindset, practising self-awareness, cultivating a growth mindset, maintaining work-life balance, and fostering positivity, we can navigate challenges with resilience, inspire others, and create a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Remember that cultivating optimism is a continuous practice, and with time and effort, you can develop a positive mindset that positively impacts your work and overall satisfaction. By embracing the Three Ps of Optimism and incorporating the practical tips provided, you can nurture optimism, enhance your wellbeing, and foster success in your professional endeavours.

CEO of Resilience Development Co.

Since 2013 Resilence Development Co. has helped thousands of people and organisations from around the world decrease anxiety & stress in the workplace, with significant results in improving performance, culture, positive mental health and wellbeing.



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