It’s easy to think of actual people as being optimists or pessimists, yet the truth is that everyone is capable of both optimistic and pessimistic states of mind. Most of us will make either the same types or exact opposite sorts of choices that our dominant caregiver made. But that habit does not mean that any of us is physically an optimist or pessimist.
We must realise that our perspective is based on whether our personal consciousness is entertaining either optimistic or pessimistic thoughts. We were all taught to take the perspectives we do and so most of do so subliminally. But those perspectives are always choices and as such are completely flexible.
Imagine you’re in line to get into a concert for a very popular band. Tickets sold out in minutes. You’ve been waiting hours. What is your mind doing? An optimist might focus their thoughts on how fortunate they feel to be one of the few who were lucky enough to get tickets. At the same time a pessimist can think very judgmentally about how poor the management of the venue is. Both of these things may literally be true but one is pleasant to think about and another is not and neither changes things materially. Equal situation + better thoughts = better days.
Pessimists will often drag on arguments motivated by their basis in logic. They will ruin their day and they’ll try to ruin the optimist’s day by stressing that they aren’t being realistic. Moreover the pessimist will often depress several innocent victims while in battle.
In reality it’s the pessimists that aren’t being realistic. They think everyone lives in their reality. They think because they are focusing their consciousness on what they don’t like that you should too. Meanwhile the truly wise people are focusing on what they do like and thereby they manage to enjoy almost any situation. You don’t live where you body is. You live your thoughts.
Look for the best in the world. It will soon become a habit. And by doing that you will lead by example. Others will witness your wisdom in action and your enjoyment of your own life will be what motivates them to emulate that healthy behaviour.
Gravestones have two numbers separated by a dash. That little dash is your life. It only goes forward so decisions are permanent. So what are you going to do? Live life noticing what you don’t like or what you do like? Because the choice is always yours whether you recognise that or not. And it is those experiences—those choices—that make up what you call your life. That’s why you will create more enjoyment in your life when those choices are made optimistically.
Enjoy your day by simply noticing what’s truly good about it. It’s that easy.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.