Optimism should not be related to the weather. Why then does a sunny disposition refer to someone having a cheerful outlook, whereas the somewhat unpleasant task of sacrificing current wants to ensure future security is referred to as saving for a rainy day? That being said, I guess there is nothing like a bright sunny day to lift one’s spirits, particularly on the heels of several days of cold wet weather. The last few days have seen the sun in regal splendor, and I cannot deny that the solar shift has contributed to a slight uplifting of mortal spirits.
Nothing spectacularly wonderful has happened, in some ways, it was just little bits and pieces of news that came my way the last few days: a good friend found a job after months of looking, while another friend’s daughter got recognized at school and invited to a very exciting gathering in the nation’s capital. And I realized that it’s not necessary to have good things happen only to oneself to feel good: optimism is an easily shared, and thankfully contagious, sentiment.
Optimism is easily pitted against pessimism, though I would content that a more insidious enemy of optimism is the much approved “pragmatism”. Too often, the practical way of thinking disallows the risk taking and sometimes necessary flouting of the norms. It is the optimists that create a better future. If everyone went by the way of the naysayers, or the cautious, I doubt if we would be where we are today. Human progress has always been driven largely by those that believe that they “can”.
Is optimism then, an essential quality for a better life ? I would posit that if you want to enjoy your life, be an optimist. I say this not with any great authority as a practicing optimist myself, but more as a student of human nature and accomplishment. The optimists are generally always the happier ones amongst us. They don’t even have to be (and often are not) “successful” in the traditional terms. But they certainly are happier. And life should be about being happy, not simply having more.
So if you are going to have an attitude, why not a positive one ?
3 Comments Add yours
You know, you are a lucky man if you are an optimist. My greatest ambition is life it is to turn into one, but its not as easy as it seems to you, my friend. But I am trying everyday and hopefully I will get there. But I will disagree with you in that, though I am a stubborn pessimist, I am spectacularly happy.
I just stumbled upon your musings and, I must say, I am enjoying them immensely! As I am sitting here trying to understand why, I am realizing that the reason isn’t simply that you have interesting things to say (you do) or that your writing flows so well due to skills that are superior than mine (it does and they are). It must be because it helps to already know you to be a thinking man, a good person and a good friend and this finally provides the means to meander through your thoughts at leisure, in lieu of the coffee meetings we never seem to get to!
Speaking of optimism, I can’t resist quoting George Will: The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised. :-).
Giles Ralston indeed – Watch out, Detective Sergeant Trotter is lurking not too far away ! Appreciate the (very) kind words and the counter view point. The only problem with George Will’s thinking is that between the time you’re actually being pleasantly surprised or proven right, you are quite miserable 🙂
We need to schedule “coffee time” my friend…else the days are just “slip slidin’ away…”