Terry Paulson

As a conservative columnist and author of "The Optimism Advantage," I've been asked to speak on "Keeping Conservative Hope Alive" in light of President Obama's election victory. In the New Year, here are seven ways conservatives can earn renewed optimism for 2014 and beyond:

1. Conservatives reject victim thinking and dependency-inducing entitlements. We aren't victims, and we're not entitled to election victories. Life is difficult, and no political victory will be easy with America's changing values and demographics. True optimism comes from a track record of overcoming obstacles--Obama's election just added another obstacle! Get over it. We lost the election; let's get busy changing the mid-term results one state, one election at a time.

2. After the 2008 election, the president's team never left the swing states. Progressives organized and prepared for the ground game challenge they knew would come. They presold to the "jury of voters" a negative image of Romney--he's rich, out of touch, and succeeded at the expense of middle class Americans. But President Obama's "glow" will dim the coverage for potential 2016 Democratic challengers. Conservatives can use the next four years in critical swing states to promote our cadre of strong, young candidates like Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal. That starts now!

3. The mainline media will never provide balanced coverage, and the majority of Americans don't watch Fox News or listen to talk radio. It's up to YOU to risk selling the conservative principles you value. Winning arguments is overrated; you can win arguments and lose votes. Influence comes from sharing authentic testimonies of why you vote conservative. My Amazon eBook, You're a Republican! The Political Conversation Your Mother Told You Never to Have, provides a model for such a conversation. Don't wait for the perfect time, start seizing opportunities to take a confident, conservative stand. Give them distance with dignity to consider your views by respecting their right to disagree.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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