Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Are you Positive? The Art of Optimism

December 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Just me

There is an old tale about the difference between an optimist and a pessimist… when two people fall off a 20 storey building, the pessimist is overheard to repeat “Oh Sh*T“ & “why me?”, while the optimist says “so far so good” as he passes each floor.…Of course this is just a joke but.. Are Optimists happier than Pessimists? or Why do Optimists seem happier than Pessimists?

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Unknown

Optimists are fun to be around, aren’t they? No matter how bad the situation is an optimists can be relied on to find something to celebrate – the warmth and flavor of their tea on a cold morning, the daily sunshine, the sudden downfall providing rain for the garden, the beautiful halos around the street lights in the fog, winds to blow away the cobwebs or the prettiness of newly fallen snow. Like everything else being an Optimist or being around one is a matter of perception, you are either open to it or not.

Painful to the fingers but beautiful to look at

Painful to the fingers but beautiful to look at

Optimism is not about everything being perfect or wonderful. It is not saying that there is only sweetness and light, or that the worst has passed when things are dark and dismal.

Optimists choose to emphasize the positive, realizing that for all ‘its’ faults, the world, or at least the ‘great scheme of things’ has many good things to offer.  Instead of saying my car broke down, you can choose to say: the break down service’s response time was good, at least it didn’t happen in 110 degrees, or at least that nice person stopped to help and I made a great contact at the car service center.

Our experience in life is to a great extent determined by HOW we respond to our things that happen and how we focus or refocus our energy.    Positive people are no less irritated by things going wrong, they just choose to emphasis the positive, not being Pollyanna necessarily (the saccharine sweetness of the ‘gladness’ game can be irritating in itself). Neither is there any point in being Chicken Little worrying about the sky falling when it is only an acorn. Opt instead to look for the good.

Rain on a pond but look closer

Rain on a pond but look closer

Choosing to be an Optimist means.. you understand that happiness is not just a matter of what you have and what’s going on around you, but how you deal with it and how you approach life’s curve balls.  Life offers daily wonders and beauty, as well as many twists and turns which allow you to test and develop your skills. If you make a conscious choice to experience all of these things and are open to the opportunities which arise daily through them, remembering to keep your goals in mind (see my earlier post: Dream World or Dream Life your attitude will help you make the most of the situation. While the road itself might not be any easier the load you carry may seem a little lighter.

Choose to be happy today? It IS up to you!

Many thanks for continued inspiration and optimism from: Lou Tice for words and thoughts to live by via The Pacific Institute , Louise Edington for being a friend, sounding board and role model at Lou Loves Learning , Jen Duchene for showing me beautiful things which enrich the spirit at Lift Your Spirits Home Transformations , Ron Britton for his daily positive input my wisdom quest, and Darcie Newton for humor, beauty, kindness and common sense My WealthSpa.

In a sad codicil to this article Lou Tice passed away today April 2, 2012.

Lou Tice

Lou Tice

”All meaningful and lasting growth and change starts first on the inside and then works its way out.”  Lou Tice

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18 Responses to “Are you Positive? The Art of Optimism”
  1. Laine, this my be my favorite post of yours! In Atticus speak, you “just think like a dog”! No Pollyanna, just choosing to be grateful regardless of the situation.
    It’s wonderful to hear reminders of this important (and dog-like!) trait.
    Nice shout out to our mutual blogger friends. I agree, all of them Rock and Inspire! :)

  2. I was raised in a very pessimistic family, and have made a conscious and concerted effort to be optimistic. You’re right, that doesn’t mean my life is perfect, but I certainly don’t dwell on every little thing that goes wrong, I try to remember tomorrow I’ll probably be laughing about this, and that there are those who have it a lot worse than the small problem I’m dealing with. Looking at life with a cup half full mentality I believe makes you more successful in everything you do! Great post!

    Sharon Hiebing
    Follow Your Dream Compass

  3. Laine D. says:

    Dogs have it right – the givers of unconditional love and acceptance. No matter what the situation there is always something to be gained and it is in the searching that we find ourselves.

    I am starting a series of articles which will emphasize which of my friends articles have made an impact in the prior week. This week was rather generic as was the subject but I am realizing that the catharsis of writing and social commentary we provide in the subjects we choose make us more like social informers and columnists than mere bloggers. Maybe its just the exceptional company I’m keeping these days! 😀

    Thank you for your huge contribution to those ranks – the article you and Atticus wrote railing about fair weather fans was part of the impetus.

    “Aspire to Inspire”
    Laine D
    Thoughts from A Broad

  4. Laine D. says:

    Absolutely agree Sharon, I come from a hybrid environment. My Mother bless her, comes from the school of the glass is empty!
    I’ve been through a number of challenges and found the only way to endure was to ignore what was happening to me and focus on helping others… lets call it deferred misery 😀 If you defer it for long enough you can partially forget or at least its not your current focus.

    The best thing you can offer someone is the inspiration to get beyond their challenges and being that positive lives you beyond yours. Hence my tag line “Aspire to Inspire”

    Love you tag line!
    Laine D
    “Aspire to Inspire”
    Thoughts from A Broad

  5. Hi Laine,
    Hadn’t heard the 20 story joke of a pessimist vs optimist…very funny! I enjoyed your post and that you noted the difference between focusing on the good vs the “gladness game” which can be irritating – LOL!
    Brandy Mychals
    Split Second Perceptions

  6. Laine D. says:

    Thank you Brandy!

    That is one of my favorite little stories.. possibly because I was a Rock Climber.

    As far as poor Pollyanna is concerned its probably not even her that irritates but my ex loved to interrupt an argument to say “now say something nice!” and of course the optimist in me says “at least I’m not married to him anymore”.

    Thanks for the opportunity.
    Laine D
    “Aspire to Inspire”
    Thoughts from A Broad

  7. Nice post Laine! You know I’ve been blogging about this sort of thing lately myself. Choosing to be happy and grateful and look at the positives so hear hear!! And thanks so much for the shout out – I’m honoured.
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears and Frontiers Over Fifty
    http://louiseedington.com

  8. Allison Rapp says:

    I read some recent research a while ago that said that pessimists are right more often, and optimists live longer.

    I find this interesting.
    When you’re a pessimist, people look at you and think “What a sourpuss” but you know that they have NO idea. Not the first clue. What a bunch of meat-heads. And because pessimists are RIGHT more often… well, see what I mean? They’re RIGHT!

    Additionally, being right should get you something great because you WON, but you only get the satisfaction of knowing you won and lost at the same time. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem right.

    You get to smirk right into your grave. You get to laugh at people who are laughing at someTHING rather than someONE (are they losers, or what?), but you get less time to do it. That’s probably why it’s so intense… you have to pack so much more rightness into so much less time.

    You probably have something to say about this, but I don’t think it’s going to add much to the discussion.

    ;-)Allision

  9. Laine D. says:

    Thanks Louise,

    I think its hard for people to balance standard British sarcasm with positive outlook – but in the worst situation you can find something that was good.

    Glad you enjoyed being mentioned in dispatches, I think I mentioned to you that I was starting a series of articles which will mention what inspired or fired me up from the blogs I read and I wanted to start it this way.

    Thanks for being you, you certainly are a source of inspiration.
    Laine D
    Aspire to Inspire
    http://www.ThoughtsfromABroad.net

  10. Laine D. says:

    Hi Allison,

    It is difficult to imagine natural British Sarcasm offset by optimism, but it is possible.

    Maybe I’m an Optimistic Pessimist, while I know what is likely to happen I choose to take the positive view and hope that I am wrong. I look at things as a realist, but opt to hope for the best and concentrate on the positive even if it is only the good things garnered from a negative situation.

    Maybe being a pessimist with all of the doom and despair makes pessimists choose to die sooner 😀 I’ll choose to be Tiggr to your Eeyore any day.

    ;)Laine D
    Aspire to Inspire
    http://www.ThoughtsfromABroad.net

  11. Sue Paananen says:

    I find optimism so much more refreshing than pessimism. I don’t know why people continue to be pessimistic when it’s as bad for the health as smoking or alcohol. A doctor once told me that there are 3 main factors for good health: nutrition, exercise, and attitude. Wow. It’s so very important to have an optimistic attitude, and to be aware of trying to change to one if it doesn’t come naturally.

    Sue Paananen
    http://MeetSuePaananen.com

  12. Laine D. says:

    You and the doctor are both right Sue! Plus the bonus is, even if we our optimism is unfounded our spirits are higher from trying to see the positives. I realized that no matter how bad a day is, if I’ve learned something it wasn’t a total waste of time 😀

    Your optimism comes through in your writing
    Laine D
    Aspire to Inspire

  13. Laine, I’m so honored to be mentioned in your beautiful blog post. My hubby and I were just recently having this conversation. He is a natural optimist, comes from a long line of optimists…his mother’s license plate is “Chirrrppp” because she is always commenting on the beauty of her surroundings…anyway, I like most have a mix of optimists and pessimists in my life. I feel better when I’m around optimists so I choose to fill my life with more optimists. I’ve never played the ‘gladness’ game but I can tell from your characterization I wouldn’t like it…I don’t want fake it to you make it sentiments but rather to look at things with a realistic eye and just FOCUS on the positive rather than the negative. Thanks for starting this conversation…;D

    Darcie Newton
    Empowering Women to use Real Estate to Retire
    http://mywealthspa.com

  14. Laine D. says:

    Chirrrppp ! What a wonderful license plate ~ might be hard to be around all of the time though just like Pollyanna 😀

    Actually I’m giving Pollyanna a bad rap. The story is that she is an orphan who goes to live with a embittered maiden aunt and transforms the village and her aunt by seeing the good in things. As 1960’s movies go it is a little too saccharine sweet but the premise is good, your daughters might find the book interesting.

    I’m definitely a realist – being a sarcastic Brit requires it but like you I try to put the FOCUS on the positive better, and am constantly amazed at how people rise to the challenge.

    You are definitely one of my positive and intelligent influences as a writer and friend! Thank you.

    Laine D.
    “Aspire to Inspire”

  15. Great post Laine! I always wonder why people talk about “bad weather.” I’ve heard it said that “there’s no bad weather, there’s only bad outerwear.” The weather is just the weather. There’s always something great about it, even if that’s an excuse to stay in and cook a good meal or spend time with a loved one. As I am in the midst of a chilly Wisconsin winter, I am appreciating that the cold wakes us all up! Truly invigorating.

  16. Laine D. says:

    I find it hard to understand when people are like that. So much easier on the soul if you accept the good things or at least notice them.

    Funny thing is my girls and I live in Arizona where we have over 90 days of 110 degrees each year, this summer we went to Northern Arizona for vacation which coincided with the rain and had such a blast. People were looking at us as if we were deranged but it was so refreshing, we got to be outside more and so what if we got wet. I promised them we wouldn’t shrink 😀

    Cold is different – that is always bad LOL just kidding!

    Laine D.

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