Optimism is something that we have to work hard at. If you are as fortunate as I to live with a deeply optimistic person, you will learn that this person always thinks carefully before they speak, in order to filter out negative thoughts internally. It's not simply a random personal trait, but an accumulation of ongoing internal choices. There are volumes written on how to maintain your own optimism in the most trying of times, and the people who are the most inspiring optimists -- whether they are religious or not -- are often simply the people who work the hardest at maintaining that pure and literal semper fi (not referring to its use in the military context), or constant faith. Optimism, curiously, is not just a fluffy and unimportant personal trait either. It's connected to our health, our ability to bounce back from setbacks, and, in turn, our ability to grow over time and to lead other people. In a way, I see optimism as being closely tied to your personal spirituality. It speaks to your willingness to believe -- in what, I don't think is really that important -- something ranging from your religious belief to your belief in human ingenuity or humanity, but something that will bring you solace and a positive outlook to keep going productively despite the challenges that may come.
I wanted to share with you something that I found on the web today, that gives me a bit of pick-me-up in a trying time. I cannot say why this quote picks me up, except that it speaks to doing our best and then simply believing.
To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
Christian D. Larson,
Your Forces and How to Use Them