Optimistic ThinkingAuthor: Byron Pulsifer, © 2017
There are two things for certain in life - well maybe more than two - but if you are still above the ground, these two things are certain.
One of The Two
You either are an optimist or you are a pessimist. This is not to say that there aren't some shades of gray around the edges but for the most part, you will fall more significantly on one side of the fence or the other. You won't last long if you think you can sit astride the fence - your real self will come through time and time again.
Where Do You Fit
Here are a few examples; see where you fit in. And, remember this as you go through this list - you can always change - that change is a choice you have to make.
- When it rains, you are either ticked off because you can't go out, or you are thankful that the rain waters the lawn for free, and that it helps top up the water table.
This particular point is not hard to understand. However, there are also shades of grey within it. Sometimes, even when one realizes that rain is needed and you want it, you don't always want the amount of rain. On occasion, it will rain far too much than the ground can adequately store, or it rains so hard that the ground does not have time to absorb what it needs before it runs off down the sewer. The question is whether you still want the rain even though it comes too little or too fast. Maybe the point here is that you don't always get what you think you need or need what you think you do. Maybe it's better to let the cycle of the weather be simply a cycle with the understanding that you are not in control of the weather but you are in control of what and how you think.
- When your car needs a brake job, you are either upset because you have to pay money for repairs, or you are thankful that you arranged to have it fixed before you were in an accident because of poor braking.
The point to ponder here is whether you count dollars and cents more than you count the potential for disaster or do you count the opportunity to stay ahead of a known possible future event better than spending a resource that can always be earned again. What is keeping potential harm away from you or a family member?
- You come home hoping to relax but know you have to complete work for your job that can't wait. You can either moan or complain that you still have to work at home or you can be thankful that you have a job when so many others would gladly change places with you.
I'm sure for those of you who have more than a nine to five job, this point is one that often looms dead on for you. Sure it can be argued that it is better to have a job than no job but the question often arises, even with the most optimistic person, whether this type of job is worth the extra money you are getting paid. Some people in this situation have made a drastic decision in favour of time rather than money. They have chosen to forsake more money for more time with family or more time to devote to the service of others. Optimism doesn't mean, in this case, that you simply stay put in a situation that can be changed to offer something even more worthwhile.
- You have to walk down to the corner store to get some milk you forgot to pick up knowing that your car is being used by one of your family members. You can either think about having to walk when you really don't feel like it, or you can think about the fact that at least you have the health and the mobility to walk when many others are unable to move at all.
The above point reflects more than the positive or negative aspect of being able to walk. It reflects several other points for you to consider and one of those other aspects is that of sharing. The reason that you do not have a car at your disposal is your unselfishness to share, to lend, to recognize that it's not all about you. The second aspect that becomes clear is the number of blessings that we all too often take for granted.
For example, the simple fact that you have children is a blessing in itself where other people would long to enjoy and experience children in their lives. Another blessing is that you can walk where others cannot; you can walk without constantly looking over your shoulder to see if anyone is about to attack you; the blessing that you have money so that you can by milk when millions of people have no money and no milk; the blessing that you have a store within walking distance at all where thousands would have to travel many hours to do what you can do.
- You need to repair one window at the side of your house because it is leaking. You either detest the thought that you have to go out and get silicone to patch it and resent the time it takes away from watching the football game, or you can think about how lucky you are to live in a country where you not only have a home but have windows when so many millions have no roof over their head at all.
There is no need to explain the above point, is there? Is there a need to give you more examples? I don't think so.
Which Do You See
A pessimist always sees the negatives while an optimist always sees the good. Which would you rather be? And, if you have a family, would you rather model an optimistic attitude, or would you rather show your family members how to be a pessimist?
A case in point is that of a young couple who are facing some financial challenges that include mounting credit card debt, and the task of finding enough money for groceries and to pay the mortgage. It isn't that they are necessarily frivolous with their money but it has more to do with the attitude of each partner. One partner sees opportunity to do things that can help them over the long run whereas the other partner sees only current problems and no solutions.
This is not an uncommon occurrence but a situation that needs to be resolved before the relationship is torn apart. But, where do you start, and what do you do to help the pessimist start to change?
Change That Outlook
Part of the process to change to a more optimistic outlook is to introduce the pessimist to the process of developing solutions and not to fixate solely on the problem as if every problem is a dead end. This process will take time but the whole strategy here is to show that for every problem there is a solution, and it is only a matter of never discounting any possibility until it is thoroughly and objectively analyzed.
And, the young couple I spoke about is now in the process of examining several solutions to their financial issues and this optimistic process all started out by one party outlining several different strategies that were unknown at first to the other. This process takes time so it is always a good thing to be patient but persistent.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Skills can be taught and developed, but attitudes are difficult to change and ultimately are the responsibility of each person." Gary Schulz, God's Creation of Work
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