Happy New Year everybody! I hope you had a fantastic festive period. I was in England for my birthday and for Christmas, while I returned to Doha for New Year's Eve.

I've read a few books the last couple of weeks and one I'm really enjoying is 'Talk like TED' by Carmine Gallo. It deconstructs some of the thousands of TED Talks and helps the reader improve their presentations.

I'm taking longer to read it than usual because every time Carmine suggests a new talk I end up going to ted.com and watching it!

One theme covered is confidence. I've never really lacked that. Only last year a friend asked me: "Richard, why are you always so confident, even in the things you have no right to be?" 

My response, as it usually is when I try to explain the difference between confidence and arrogance, was: "If you don't believe in yourself no one else will."

It was only when I watched Amy Cuddy's TED talk: 'Your body language shapes who you are' that I realised I do something in my body language that can make me confident. When I feel down or start to not believe in myself sometimes I put my chest and arms out, and that reignites my belief.

Whether you are a confident person or not I recommend you watch Amy's talk. It's eye-opening.

My first guest of 2016 on the 'Best in the World with Richard Parr' podcast also doesn't lack any confidence. Ben Askren is a mixed martial arts star and current ONE Welterweight Champion. We discuss this along with his goals for the New Year and what it's like training WWE turned UFC star CM Punk. 

I also list my goals for 2016 in the show (released on Wednesday).

I like this time of year as it is time to look forward, be confident and optimistic. 

Optimism is briefly covered in another book I've recently finished: Daniel Kahneman's 'Fast and Slow'. The Nobel prize winning economist says optimists: "are resilient in adapting to failures and hardships, their chances of clinical depression are reduced, their immune system is stronger, they take better care of their health, they feel healthier than others and are in fact likely to live longer."

If that's the benefits of being optimistic then I'm glad I am and if you aren't already, I hope 2016 will be the year you become optimistic too.