Optimism is an attitude that keeps us centered on what is good about our present situation or about the future. Everything that is lovely or delightful in this world exists alongside pain and loss; optimism is a conscious selective focus on the good.
Here is a folktale reflection perceptions and optimism…
There’s a farmer between two towns tending to his crops. A traveler comes by and asks the farmer where the next town is? The farmer says down the road. The traveler says he’s looking for a new place to live and asks how the people are in this town. The farmer asks “well how were the people in the last town?” The traveler says “people were cold, cynical and uncaring.” The farmer replies “the people are the same in this town.” The traveler then says “ok, I’ll just find another town.”
Later on the day, another traveler passes by and ask the farmer the same thing. He says his town was burnt to the ground and needed a new town to live in. He asks how the people are in that town. The farmer asks “how were the people in that town before it was destroyed?” The traveler says they are “loving, wonderful and warm.” The farmer says that’s how you’ll find the people in this town.
How do you look at life? What situations could be different if you changed your perception? Where has your optimism helped?
Optimism gives us energy; it makes our efforts feel worthwhile. In the end it is rewarded because even though some of these efforts will fail, others will succeed, and we can’t know ahead of time which are which. When we are optimistic we are happier and better company—we help other people to be happy and hopeful, too.