My glass is half full. It is a wondrous glass. I am honored to have it. The water within it can quench my thirst. With this water, I can water a seed. I can sip or gulp. I can splash it on my face. The water within cleanses me and I can share it with someone in greater need. What is inside the glass is life-sustaining. And the glass itself is firm in my hands and cool to the touch. It reflects light. The water within it captures sound and sends ripples. Container and water together sing with just the right touch. Together they meditate and model tranquility. This glass inspires gratitude. It inspires wonder. It is the essence of abundance. I love this half-full glass. I am rich because of it. I am blessed.
Optimism is looking at life through the lens of abundance.
With it, we see the potential for everything.
We see our dreams as fact,
Not just hope, founded in lack.
Optimism drives you forward. It is life-affirming and life-embracing. It sees beyond basic survival needs. It is visionary and future-oriented, yet grounded in seeing the beauty of the Now. Optimism inspires without rose-colored delusion. It is a way of looking at the bright side that inherently acknowledges a dark side. It constantly counts blessings.
It forgives and grants new starts. It cleans slates. It says, “That was the old me.”
It loves the underdog, the longshot, and the Cinderella story.
Second chances? Of course. It sees the new leaf before it has turned.
It says “There is still a chance” despite defying odds. It sees a better tomorrow.
It gets up after a fall, marches on, and sometimes chugs along with each breath,
Knowing that each inhale and each exhale is a Wonder.
Optimism exalts gratitude and begets confidence.
It reigns over the alternatives. It feels good.
It channels the feelings of a task completed or desired state of being achieved, ahead of time.
Up from struggle or defeat, Optimism rises to say, “I am alive! I am still breathing! I’ve got this! Life is good!”
Optimism can see through the dark. It pierces the veils of mystery and unconsciousness.
There is a style of thinking or approach to life that entails always looking out for and preparing for the worst-case scenario. The term “catastrophic thinking” is often applied to this mindset. Fundamentally fear-based, it was an effective survival mechanism in ancient times when physical dangers were more commonplace. In some modern arenas─ if you are managing a multi-million-dollar project or your family’s financial portfolio, for example─ it makes good business sense to consider and appropriately weigh worst-case scenarios. In fact, in cases such as these, we have a fiduciary responsibility to do this, and to guard against worst-case scenarios.
Catastrophic thinking on a personal and spiritual level, however, can be problematic and we need to be Mindful of it. It is in contrast to Optimism and is often the hallmark of depression and anxiety-related disorders. It tends to be life-avoiding. Someone who thinks this way disproportionately weighs in on the side of the worst possible outcome in any situation, thereby paralyzing them from taking action. In the drive to control all outcomes, such a person fails to trust the Universe and their own internal guidance systems. An irrational fear of the potential for the worst case scenario takes over.
In this mindset, Change of any type is an adversary. Change represents potential for more and different “worst case scenarios.” Staying put is viewed as safe. The world is seen as a consistent barrage of threats. “Woe is me” becomes a mantra. Pity parties with only oneself in attendance prevail.
For the Optimist, Change represents potential for growth, opportunities for new learning and expansion in general. For the Optimist, there is an inherent acknowledgment that Change is part of life and its uncertainties can be embraced.
A Pterodactyl Flying in the Sky
I once knew a man (we’ll call him Louis) who was a recovering from agoraphobia. Sometimes referred to as “shut-ins,” people with agoraphobia may never leave their homes because of the levels of anxiety they experience when facing the uncertainties of the outside world. In an attempt to describe his former mindset to me, Louis used an interesting analogy.
“Barry,” he explained, “my view was that if I went outside, there would be the slightest chance that, for some reason, a single pterodactyl may have survived the eons and he would see me, swoop down from above and gobble me up.”
In contrast to this line of thinking, when we are in the flow of Optimism, we gladly venture out into the world each day, looking forward to the events that may unfold. We would most likely not see the potential for death-by-pterodactyl and, if by some miracle of preservation, we did witness one flying above us, we would relish the opportunity to see something so rare. Staring up into the sky at the great beast, we would trust our Reason, Wisdom and Intuition to keep us out of harm’s way. If by some chance that pterodactyl did swoop down and gobble us up, our Optimistic last thought may, in fact, be, “What a way to go!”
Louis’s explanation of his former perspective on life makes me wonder just how many people see pterodactyls in every small change in life?
Optimism is Informed by Our Truth
When we see the bright side of things, even in the face of dying odds or practicality, this is often a sign that our Truth is telling us that we are on the right track. Our Truth says not to listen to the naysayers who warn, “Are you crazy? Don’t quit your job!” or “You can’t buy those 5 acres to grow pistachios. You, a farmer? Ha!” Optimism acknowledges that, when we are acting within our Truth, all odds shift to our favor. It factors in this Truth and recalculates our odds to win-win. With Optimism, we simply know that we will grow in some way by moving forward on our dreams, no matter what.
There is a mystic balance between setting intentions, being confident and having Optimism about the end result and, at the same time, not being attached to a specific outcome. When we are in the element of Optimism, we are positive about the process and okay with wherever we may land.
Optimism Constantly Forgives
As we grow and transform spiritually and psychologically in life, we may find ourselves gradually or abruptly leaving a part of ourselves behind. We outgrow aspects of who we are or who we thought we were. We may see an old pattern within us, like gossiping about others or self-criticizing, and realize that it simply does not serve us any longer. So we choose to let it go. Instead, we see a new vision and a new version of ourselves before us. We could be the same in many ways, but we have also changed. We have made a conscious choice to those parts of ourselves and our immediate world that serve us and have tossed out those that do not.
Optimism does not let past ways of being define us. As we evolve, we can remember the old as what “not to be” as we focus mainly on how we want to be within ourselves and in relation to the world now and in the future. Optimism’s future-tense orientation naturally forgives, making the Now more enjoyable. Seen through the lens of this element, our old ways of being are seen for what they really are─ past opportunities to learn, grow and wake up into consciousness. In the act of Forgiving, Optimism sees the potential for new ways of being that are of greater service to self and others.
Optimism says we can Forgive and we can Change. We apply this to ourselves and we Nurture that kind of Change in others whenever possible.
“No one can go back but everyone can go forward. And tomorrow when the sun rises, all you will have to say to yourself is that I am going to think of this day as the first day of the rest of my life.” -Paulo Coelho
Law of Attraction
To the extent that there exists any law or principle of attraction, Optimism is it. Our thinking can create our reality. If our thinking focuses on lack or “worst-case scenario” thinking, we may attract that. Life is simply more enjoyable when we are Optimistic.
The degree to which we humans can control any universal law or principle is subject to debate. I am of the opinion that it is probably wise not to attempt to direct our Law of Attraction energy in too self-serving a manner. Instead, we can simply work on attracting our Truth. We can set intentions, Surrender the outcome and let the cards fall where they may. Optimism allows for this ebb and flow since, from its perspective, growth can happen from almost any experience.
Let’s use a baseball analogy to go a little deeper into the Law of Attraction. If a batter focuses his mind on not striking out, or not wanting to strike out, he will have a greater tendency to strike out. He will attract it because he is operating from a position of lack or fear of striking out. He will also probably not enjoy playing the game very much.
The batter who is Optimistic will envision himself hitting the ball well or simply focus upon the love of the game. He will feel the emotions associated with those states and be more likely to get a hit. He will attract it. And he will have more fun. He may even see a strikeout as a learning experience. He may see what that pitcher had to offer and will be able to apply that knowledge the next time he faces him on the pitcher’s mound.
At another end of the scale, the batter who demands or expects a homerun each time he is at-bat may be extending his expectations a little bit too much. He may be past Humility because he is attaching himself to a specific outcome or level of abundance and is not leaving anything to Divine will. This is the realm of arrogance and expectation. In this realm, outcomes can be karmic and can even backfire in some unpredictable manner. Love and enjoyment of the game cannot happen since anything other than a homerun would constitute a disappointment.
With Optimism, we channel the feelings associated with having achieved a task or desired state of being before actually doing so, making it more likely. We temper this with Humility and Gratitude for whatever opportunity arises. If some other outcome occurs than what we expected, we will still feel wiser, more experienced and better prepared for the next step of our journey as a result of it.
By always seeing growth, we attract it.
“During the deepest, darkest night, act as if morning as already come.” -Talmud
I like playing with the spelling of the word “Optimistic” and imagine that the words derives from origins related to sight and mystery. I define being “Optimystic” as “seeing like a mystic” or “having the ability to see within the mystery that is life.” In this way, Optimism pierces through the veils of unconscious behavior and sees the Divinity within all.
Despite an often unconscious context, Optimism sees the Divine as ultimately prevailing or being able to prevail if honored. Optimism becomes a practice of Devotion when we consciously base it upon the ability to able see, with Respect, the Divinity that surrounds all. Those that are Optimistic are supported by the Divine. By being Optimistic, we are in fact engaging in an act of Devotion and are honoring the Divine. Love, Joy, Light and Beauty tend to be attracted to this state, further supporting Optimism and keeping it Light in weight.
Blessed be the mystics for they commune amongst the stars. -Anonymous
Optimism is fundamentally based upon the able to see the Divinity that surrounds all.
Intuition, Reason and Wisdom guard against delusion.
Forgiveness allows for new ways of being that are in-line with Optimism. The Optimistic naturally forgive.
Our personal Truth directs Optimism in the face of obstacles and difficult odds.
When we consistently engage the world and ourselves with Optimism, we, in fact, are engaging in an act of Devotion, i.e. honoring the Divine. In turn, the elements of Love, Joy, Light and Beauty tend to be added to the equation.
Mindfulness is key in terms of monitoring our thoughts to guard against Catastrophic or similar types of thinking. Freewill directs our mind’s eye towards Optimism.
- Practice Gratitude on a daily basis.
- Monitor your Catastrophic Thinking: Keeping a log of any catastrophic thinking you may be engaging in can help you monitor this tendency and alter your mindset. We can track what triggered a catastrophic thought and how we experienced it. We can also decide to reframe it in order to be open to positive possibilities.
- Consider best-case scenarios. Practice goal setting. Reflect on how you feel when you achieve these goals. Learn and practice meditation and visualization techniques geared towards achieving those goals, focusing upon desired states of being/feeling instead of specific outcomes.
- Surround yourself with Optimistic people as much as possible.
- Dance more. Laugh more. Be in the sun. Skip.
- Maintain a consistent self-care regimen. It is easier to be optimistic when we are healthy, clean and strong— much harder when we are hungry, tired, dirty or otherwise not functioning at our very best.
My Life Unfolds In Divine Order and I Am Open To All Outcomes
I Can See, Feel and Be My Future─ I Am That.
With Each Step of My Journey I Am Wiser; With Each Step I Grow
I See Divinity Within All; I See Divinity Within Me
I Am Pure Energy; Peace at this Moment, Courageous and Willfully Present.
I Am Perfectly Me; I Learn and Grow from All Actions