Seeing the best in life's challenges

The Power of Optimism

on March 18, 2012

Reality is in the eye of the beholder.  You literally create your own reality.  This sounds like crazy talk, but let’s think it through, and see if you don’t agree.

Have you had this experience?  You attend a party, or a meeting, or visit some place.  Maybe it’s just a conversation that you have.  Others are with you.  Later, when you hear them describe what happened, they have a completely different take on it than you do, and maybe you ask yourself, were we even in the same place?

How about the news?  Depending on whether or not you read the paper, or which news channel you tune in, or who you discuss current events with, you hear very different interpretations of what’s going on.  But we all live in the same world, right?  How can our “stories” be so different?

What IS, actually, REAL?

I’m not talking about the facts of events, although that is a related topic.  I’m talking about our “spin” and the story we view as “true”.

Think about a “bad” situation you have lived through or witnessed.  Pick a good one, meaning a really bad situation.  What is the story you have adopted about this?  Do you focus on the bad aspects or the good ones?  Wait, you might say, you told me to pick a bad situation, there’s not any “good” there!

I would argue that there is good in every situation, even in the ones that seem to be all bad.  And that is what I am talking about when I talk about the power of optimism.  There is always some good there.  It may be hidden, and it may be indirect, and you might not see it for a long time after.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is to realize that how you view the world is YOUR CHOICE.  You can spend your time thinking and talking about how bad everything is, how stupid people are, how corrupt the government is, etc.  I know lots of people who are on this track, and it’s an easy one to get sucked into.  The reality that is created by this is full of fear, unhappiness and bad guys.

Then there are others who choose to make the best out of every situation.  They are resilient.  They laugh at their own mistakes.  They forgive others, and assume that others have good intentions.  They make the best of what they’ve got.  And the reality that they see is full of faith, happiness and amazing people.

I’m not saying this is necessarily easy.  But the first step is to be aware of this dynamic, and to watch yourself and how you react to the world, and then to maybe make a conscious choice to be the optimist.

Even those people who seemingly have the worst situations you can imagine, can see the good and the potential good in life.  Here’s an amazing example.  The video is very evangelical (which may or may not resonate with you) but that’s not why I’m including it.  See beyond that aspect while you watch it, and notice how Nick and Bethany have chosen to view their own stories with optimism.  Each of these two amazing people have created a happy, positive world around themselves.  (Also I have to note that this is filmed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach, a place near and dear to my heart, and that just makes it all the more perfect.)

Think about how different the world would be, if every single person chose to have this kind of outlook on life.  Our world would be an entirely different place.  And it would be REAL.

What do you think?

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