A person’s attitude determines whether some thing is a blessing or a curse. We have a choice whether to see the blessings around us. They become choices when we look at them with a feeling of optimism, a superfood of the mind and the soul.
Optimism is a belief that one can expect the best possible outcome, or one dwells on the ^ most hopeful aspects of a situation. It is the belief that good is ultimately triumphant over .the evil in the world. It is an attitude which expresses the belief that goodness pervades reality G.W.Leibniz, the German philosopher, called it the best of all possible worlds.
Some people dismiss optimism as “just wishful thinking” and quote the “Peter Principle”, the idea first formulated by Canadian author, Lawrence J. Peter (1919-1990), in his bestselling book The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong (1969). The central thesis of Peter’s satirical commentary on business bureaucracies is that “in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” The Peter Principle proposes that anything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it causes a disaster. Although I do not question the principle in the context of studying bureaucracies, I do challenge it when it is applied to the philosophy of life. It is an example of pessimism at large, of our negative expectations creating negative outcomes for us.
Optimism is the inner energy which helps us to look at the bright side of any situation and expect the best possible outcome from any series of events. People who feel optimism live their lives expecting positive outcomes and events. Optimism is powerfully motivational; optimism is one of the cornerstones of success.
Winston Churchill is credited with the saying, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” Optimistic attitudes provide us with plenty of opportunities to feel good.
Optimism creates positive experiences in life. A pessimist looks at the rain drops coming from the sky and complains about a possible wet day and the consequent inconveniences to anticipate. Sadness is the outcome. But an optimist sees abundance and the beauty in the same drops, and makes it a time for rejoicing.
Our mind creates what it surrounds itself with. Optimism creates goodness around us. It gives rise to a win-win situation because our mind responds to the goodness around us with more optimism, which in turn, produces more goodness. It recreates a general disposition to expect the best in all people and in all things.
How can we express our optimism around us? An unconditional smile is a sign of optimism. “Unconditional” because the giver does not expect anything in return. But silently it makes a statement that what I encounter at this moment is good – whether they are people, events, or things. We can also express optimism by giving a compliment to someone around us. While giving a sincere compliment we may even choose to ignore some pitfalls around a person, because the compliment has the potential to correct them. A smile begets a smile; a compliment begets a compliment. Thus, we continue a chain of good energy which can even stop the negative energy of gossips and criticisms.
Antony Chatham, LCSW, M. Th., M. Phil MSW, . NBCCH, Licensed Psychotherapist Wellness Coach
Antony is also a Pastoral Counselor and has been working with the Hippocrates guests since 1994. He employs some very effective brief therapy model techniques from Eastern and Western traditions of holistic healing while integrating the knowledge and experience related to the fields of psychology, philosophy and theology in which he also holds graduate degrees. His work is focused on the state-of-the-art Stress Management using Hypnotherapy, Progressive Relaxation, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), Guided Imagery, Regression, Pastoral Counseling, & Spiritual consultations.
Vol 28 Issue 3 Page 24