Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Blinding Pessimism

We've all heard the question, "Is the glass half full or half empty?" Only your gut reaction is the truth, but many of us might answer this question by what we think others would like to hear. Or maybe when this question is asked, we'll pause and think about it to make sure our answer really is what we believe.

After considering this subject for quite a while, I've now come to the conclusion that your answer to that question, and numerous situations you encounter in your life is not a matter of opinion or personality, but lifestyle choice. We choose to be optimists or pessimists. Albeit, we don't choose on a whim. We first decide on an attitude and then proceed to follow its path. But the choice is ours. Your view of optimist/pessimist is also not determined on a per-situation basis. (often referred to as "realist", more on that later.) I must emphasize that being an optimist is a lifestyle that we choose. (You may be "optimistic" about something, but that does not make you an optimist. ) As we begin to live that lifestyle, things begin to fall into place for the better.

That being said, I sincerely hope that you are an optimist at heart. I know you've probably heard this before, to always look up, and to accentuate the positive. But I've got to tell you, it is the absolute truth. You will be a much happier person as an optimist. But first you must choose a positive attitude in your life, and then the optimism will come naturally. If you are a hardcore pessimist, then the transition will be more difficult, but it is possible.

Optimists are much more successful than pessimists. You will not find great pessimists getting a nomination for "Man of the Year". Great leaders in history are never pessimists. Nor will you see in an obituary "He was a great pessimist, he always new what was about to hit him just before he gave up." As an optimist, a great new world of opportunity is opened to you simply because you choose to see it. The world is never dim of hope and never in despair. Surely, things go wrong, but when they do - you immediately begin to work towards a solution. As an optimist you will have a more friendly demeanor. You will begin to enjoy your job more and be better at it. You will be more popular and attract greater numbers of friends, and make the closer friends ever closer. People will see you as a leader, someone to follow and invest their trust in. Not only that, studies have shown that you will be healthier.

Ever hear of "blind optimism"? I'm sure you have, and also that you've heard that "blind optimism" is a bad thing, and that being a realist is the way to go. Maybe you call yourself a realist. Have you ever said or heard something like "The situation is bad and getting worse and there is no end in sight. I'm not trying to be a pessimist, I'm just being a realist." Here's the thing, "realist" is an excuse for being a "pessimist". Don't fool yourself or let anyone fool you. Thats the no spin truth.

In reality, it is pessimism that makes us blind. Seeing the negative and believing the positive is unachievable will only blind you to the many positive opportunities that are right in front of you. Society teaches us to have a negative world view, and many of us take the path of least resistance to that end. There is always a solution, either by heaven or earth. And if heaven is involved in your life in any way, you will be a much stronger person and most likely an optimist. That doesn't mean you have to be Billy Graham to subscribe to this Optimist Philosophy, but it sure helps. With God in your life, solutions seem to appear from nowhere and will result in you being a much happier person in addition to your optimist lifestyle.

Now about this blind optimism thing...well, being a blind optimist will make you happy, but thats about it. (ever hear of a grinning idiot? you get the picture) You can be positive all you want, but if you don't work towards your goals, they will probably never happen. A real optimist will view a bad situation in a positive light and then WORK towards that solution. He understands that either by a force of his own, or of some other power, a positive solution will take work to achieve. He believes in his goals and works towards them.

Seeing the positive in every situation will make you a happier person. Since I've chosen this lifestyle many bad things have happened around me. But through it all, I've kept my head high, and always looked forward. The furture is a gift, why should we spoil it with negativity? You might think being this way is more difficult than being pessimistic - writing off your woes to hopeless nothingness. At first, maybe. But let me tell you, this way of life is a lot less stressful. Facing each day is a blessing, and not an ordeal. Look at your battle scars, and see them as testaments to your survival and success, and not as blemishes. Like I said, it might have been a little more difficult at first to change to this lifestyle, but now that I'm in it - its smooth sailing.

I'm not saying that things don't get tough. They do. But I don't let it get to me. Things are going to be great. I'm working towards my goals, and have confidence that I will achieve them. Life is awesome. Will you join me in being a happier person?

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
- Sir Winston Churchill

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

preach it brutha!

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton