Optimism and Pessimism
We've heard the saying so often we take it for granted: "The glass is half-empty, or it's half-full." How we see it reveals our philosophy about living. That's the wisdom we accept, and it's completely false.
Nothing could ever be less true than that anything is half-empty. There are no vacuums. No empty spaces. We learned it in high school, and it applies to people as much as it does to water in a jar.
Your glass is always one-hundred percent full. When you're an Optimism Junkie, as I am, you've made a decision about what it's filled with.
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How An Optimism Junkie Sees Things
It's a choice you and I make in every moment of every day. Strange thing is, we all know it, but have a hard time accepting it.
Come along with me for a few minutes. Optimism will serve you better than cynicism, and it makes perfect sense. It can make you happier, healthier and more attuned to the fullness of the realities around you.
Every positive expression is accented by it's negative opposite: optimism and pessimism, in polarity. It's a kind of balancing habit. To appreciate one, we have to know the other.
This helps us reject it.
Optimism Pessimism: The Things We Say
"You can't win 'em all."
Who says? We can win them all. Why not? We win enormous contests every day and in such routine fashion, we barely notice. Failure is an attitude, not a fact.
The amazing synchronicity of our fifty-trillion active cells working cohesively, minute by minute, to keep everything about us going strong, almost always without a hitch, ought to make anyone an optimist, but talking recently with a biologist friend, I shared my idea that spontaneous remissions from cancers weren't as rare as we think. I believe they seem rare only because we aren't looking for them.
Her answer surprised me. She explained that tests on existing cancers sometimes show they're the result of metastases. The cancer being examined had grown from another, even though the previous cancer vanished, leaving only its progeny. It's probable that many such cancers are cured by our bodies without our ever knowing because they never spread, vanishing without treatment when nobody was looking.
An Optimism Junkie takes what others call miracles for granted, even before the evidence is found.
"The good times can't last forever."
Any objective look at world history shows that the condition of the world and the people in it has gotten better consistently over as many centuries as recorded time allows us to see. There is not only far less war, fewer diseases and less crime than ever, but human rights have expanded, food has become more available, cleaner water supplies have been enabled, childbirth is less risky and productive lives are lived longer.
These aren't beliefs. They're facts. You won't hear about them on you local news. Good news isn't as useful for advertisers, and advertisers, not information, are what your local news exists for.
Me? I'm never sick. I make money doing working on things that inspire me. I love my wife, our cats and our extended families. We travel to exciting places frequently. I expect good things to happen, and they do.
"But children are starving."
First, fewer children are starving than ever before, but it's still too many.
The most responsible current estimate suggests that we can begin to put an end to world hunger for only $30 billion a year. A lot of money, yes, but the United States spent that much every two months in support of the Iraqi war. Not so much in perspective. If we can do it for bombs and corrupt contractors, we can do it for starving children in the Third World.
A more optimistic, but respected, report claims we have enough food already. Tons get wasted every day. All we need is better distribution, willing governments in disadvantaged nations, and more than anything else, we need more of a can-do attitude.
As an Optimism Junkie, my glass is overflowing with can-do spirit, no space for the half-empty.
When I was growing up, a popular conviction for us was that, even while a miserable war was tearing generations apart, the United States could "declare peace on the world and win."
I still think that's right, if we just get our heads on straight.
Optimism vs Pessimism: Do We Expect Enough?
When we look at the world around us, do we see it as half-full or FULL? It's a legitimate question and not simple. D we accept too little?
We are, and it starts on a personal level. What does it mean to be an Optimism Junkie, to be sure that the next day will always be better than the one before it, to be unflinchingly certain of the universe's abundant qualities? It means accepting power, and it means declaring independence from habitual ways of thinking. It's knowing that it's easier than we've been led to believe.
It's easier to duck a little, still strong, but not that strong, independent but not quite free, but we can never have the world we want, one brimming with abundance and fulfillment until we have the faith to take the next step. Look inside, understand what a gift your life has been and declare yourself an Optimism Junkie.
Pessimism Into Optimism: The Next Step
Here's my challenge to you. I'll wave the flag, if you will.
There is richness everywhere in every variety, in things to see, smell, touch and feel. Emptiness is always an illusion. If you can remind yourself of the everyday miracle that is you, an entangled soft machine made up of fifty-trillion amazing cells working harmoniously on more missions than we will ever count, each intended to help you live in health and joy, you'll gradually become drunk with your own power.
"I win; therefore, I am."
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