The Hard Work of Being Optimistic

A little tool to help you become more of a "half full" type of person. Available at the Kim & Jason Lemonade Stand.

Labor Day weekend is upon us; the unofficial end of summer that reminds us, “Quit goofing around, it’s time to get back to work.”

Perhaps you’ve heard the rumor that unemployment is really, really high.

If not, it’s probably because it’s been drowned out by all the other bad news being reported by seemingly every media source. The economy is depressed. Terrorism is on a rampage. And the Earth is melting. (Or is it freezing — I wish they’d make up their minds.)

If you listen to the pundits for too long, you’ll become convinced that we’re living in the worst period of time in the history of the world.

Bummer, huh?

No wonder Adultitis is at an all-time high. I, for one, am tired of it. Tired of the problems, for sure, but also tired of the hand-wringing and worrying. It feels like it’s been going on so long now that I’m actually tired of being tired of all the negativity.

How about a little optimism?

Yes, we have challenges. Crazy big ones. But dwelling on them endlessly only drives us to a deeper sense of fearful paralysis. And while we are tirelessly focusing on how bad things are, what are we missing out on?

Opportunities, for one. And reasons to be grateful.

There’s a popular phrase people often use when reflecting on their past: “Those were the good old days.” Ever notice how nobody ever says, “These are the good old days?”

Hmm. What if you — right now — were currently smack dab in the middle of your “good old days?”

Think about it. Before you — right now — are opportunities, moments, and blessings you’ll never experience again. You have people in your life right now that you won’t have with you forever. Maybe not next year. Are you appreciating them? Or are you taking the good things for granted while you focus on your fears?

It really is a simple matter of changing your perspective, the one thing in this crazy world that you DO have control of. Two people can look at the same glass, with one calling it “half full” while the other calls it “half empty.” In my experience, the “half full” people always seems to be happier, less stressed, and more fun to be around. They’re the ones that notice Cracker Jack prizes in spades and are always able to spot reasons to celebrate, no matter how negative the nightly newscast may be.

Labor day is a fun holiday, often marked with picnics, parades, and burnt hot dogs. Maybe you could use it as an occasion to practice becoming more of a “half full” kind of person. And think of all the great reasons there are for being alive. Right here. Right now.

Happy Labor Day.

And remember, every day is a holiday. It’s just that most days, what to celebrate is up to you.

Comments

  1. Great post. But what is there is a third way to see the glass?? What if it was all full!! The lower half is full of water and the upper is full of air ;)

  2. There’s a reason why the “good old days” seem so in retrospective: As time passes by, we tend to forget the bad things and the little daily miseries that happened to us during those times, leaving only the good things we lived in memory. Obviously when we bring back those memories, we can’t help but romanticize the past.

    But truth is, life has never been a walk in the park (history gives us plenty of facts) and humanity’s imperfection guarantees us we won’t be short of problems and conflict anytime soon. So what’s one to do? Maybe trying to become a “half full glass” person every day despite the circumstances. Of course it is frustrating to see how some things we wish to see changed for the better just aren’t (and likely won’t be), but then maybe that means we should concentrate on the things that we CAN change – like our attitude towards life and with others.

    Sometime ago I found some videos I shoot from my father and us together some years ago. Little we all knew that months after that he would no longer be with us. And that’s the (hard) way I learned to appreciate and cherish the people I love every day – while they are still around. Life goes by faster than we think.

    • You are so right, Beto. That’s a tough lesson to learn like that. And you make a great point about the bad stuff fading away. It’s a good reminder that the bad stuff we get so worked up about in the present usually doesn’t end up mattering in the long run. It’s like the saying, “Will this matter in five years?” Most of the “bad” stuff we fret about won’t; it’s just trivial. BUt it’s the stuff that seems trivial that has the biggest impact (like the every day moments we have with the people we love.)

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