“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
The other day I shared with you how much I appreciated folks who look on the bright side of their lives. They are the ones that expect the best and don’t worry excessively about what may go wrong. They are life’s winners, they count their blessings and find that they far outweigh the bad times. Since I wrote that Daily I stumbled across an article written by Henrik Edberg offering his suggestions on how to become one of the happy optimists. Here in part is what he wrote:
How to Live an Optimistic Life: 5 Timeless Tips
We all face tough days or times. It’s a part of life. But how you react, think and act during these tough times makes a big difference. With a helpful set of habits the outlook on life can change in a huge and remarkable way. I know from experience, I was a big, die-hard pessimist years ago. So this week I’d like to simply share five of my favorite timeless tips on optimism. Fundamentals that the wise people that came before us have lived by for hundreds and thousands of years.
Remember: It is not too late to change your life.
It may feel like you have been on the same path and stuck in the same habits for so long that you are stuck permanently on your current route. It doesn’t have to be that way though. You may not be able to change your life in any way you want right now. But work with what you have where you are right now. Make just a small change if that is what is possible. That small change and success will give you confidence and optimism and you can build upon that to make more and perhaps even bigger changes over the year.
Don’t make mountains out of molehills.
It is easy to let thoughts spin out of control. To let them grow from just one thought or one situation into a big thing in your mind. So what can you do about it?
Step 1: Say stop right away. If you have read anything I have written about self-esteem then you may have seen that I often mention using a stop-word or phrase. This also works well for optimism.
In this case it simply means that as soon as you become aware of that you are starting to make a mountain out of a molehill you say or shout STOP! or something similar in your mind. I tend to use the phrase: No, no, no, we are not going down that road again.
Step 2: Broaden the perspective. After I have used my stop-phrase I ask myself this about the perceived problem: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks? The answer is almost always no. And my mind is once again more chill, calm and level-headed.
Find a more helpful way to view your troubles.
Not all troubles in life are molehills (or simply made out of air). And these more substantial challenges can easily to get drag you down. But if you view them in a helpful and optimistic way then, yes, they may still hurt. But they tend to often hurt a lot less and can even be a source of optimistic excitement.
For example, I did not to like making mistakes or failing at all. I often chose to stand still and to not do anything to not risk anything. But nowadays I have learned that these things tend to truly be a blessing in disguise. What has changed?
I view them differently and act upon them differently than I used to. I ask myself: What is one opportunity in this situation? How will this experience help me in the long run? These questions help me to make good use of a situation that may seem negative at first.
Focus on the small steps you can take.
Focus on what you can do about your situation and take action on. Not on asking yourself over and over why something happened to you or why you failed. That will only lead to pessimism and feeling powerless. Instead, ask yourself: what is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling and improve this situation? Just take that one small step today. Then another tomorrow. The small steps tend to add up quickly and, as I mentioned above, will breed confidence and optimism that allow you to take more and bigger steps.
Learn to reduce and handle worries.
Worries can be very destructive. But most of the things you fear will happen never happen. They are just nightmares or monsters in your own mind. And if they happen then they will most often not be as painful or bad as you expected. Worrying is most often just a waste of the time you have here.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Winston S. Churchill
Stumpy’s English teacher was a perfectionist and demanded the very best of his pupils. So it was only to be expected that he would get furious when Little Stumpy handed in a poor paper.
“This is the worst essay it has ever been my misfortune to read,” ranted the teacher.
“It has too many mistakes. I can’t understand how one person would have made all these mistakes.”
“One person didn’t,” replied Little Stumpy defensively. “My dad helped me.
Ever notice how ignorance picks-up confidence as it goes along.
A note to the teacher said: To all teachers
Please put this in a prominent place on your desk so that you may refer to it throughout the year. Attach it securely, as no copies will be made available. So that there is no misunderstanding between thee and me, it is expected that the following rules be obeyed:
- Students must leave their homes no later that 7:30 A.M. and return no earlier that 3:00 P.M. No hanging around the front yards. Parents have enough to do in the mornings without babysitting your students.
- Students may come home for lunch only if they live within thirty feet of the school.
- If school is to be dismissed at noon on any given day, notice must be sent home six months in advance.
- No student may come home claiming illness unless he a) is bleeding from both ears, b) has a broken bone protruding from the skin, c) is unconscious. In such cases, the student may come home if s/he brings a note from the school nurse testifying that the child is not faking.
- Oil paints, India ink, and Magic Markers are strictly prohibited and if brought into the home, will be confiscated and destroyed. In the event that said items are smuggled into the home, and are found by a preschool age sibling, it shall be understood that the teacher will then be required to report to the home that evening to wash down the walls, clean the carpet, and explain the whole thing to Dad.
- Requests for milk money, hot-lunch money, mission money, field-trip money, or any other money must be made before the 21st of the month, as no respectable mother can be expected to come up with any petty cash after that date.
- Students who are persuaded to go out for band will be allowed to practice only in the home of the band instructor.
- In the interests of peace at home, the following policy will be strictly adhered to: No PTA meetings, scout banquets, Christmas programs, graduations, etc., may be scheduled on Monday nights unless they are first cleared by all parents.
- Students are expected to return home from school in reasonably reputable clothes. Trousers with holes, jackets with rips, and shoes with irremovable tar will not be tolerated. In the case of primary students, parents of first and second-graders will be satisfied if their children just return home in the same clothes they wore to school.
- We realize that personality conflicts may occur throughout the year. However, we must insist that teachers do not request that their students be assigned to another family. While many parents would be happy to cooperate with such a request, surveys have shown that one home is pretty much like another, and students and teachers will just have to adjust.
If you have any questions concerning this letter, please feel free to call me anytime before 3:00 P.M. yesterday afternoon
I am sad to say that I believe this note reflects the thinking of many parents today. They are so busy in self-centered activities that they have no time for the inconveniences brought on by parenthood.
“What kind of job do you do?” a lady passenger asked the man traveling in her compartment. “I’m a naval surgeon,” he replied.
“Goodness!” said the lady, “How you doctors specialize these days.”
Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.
Nicholas M. Butler
Stay well, do good work, and have fun
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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