Optimism

April 2008 216Looking to the bright side, positive expectations, not dwelling on negatives

Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power. William James

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Helen Keller

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Winston Churchill

 We lean either toward optimism or pessimism. Which one is the better choice? Everything equal, optimism is a better choice. Life will have more to offer and be more meaningful and joyful. It is an obvious choice.

We have been programmed with a natural tendency to be one or the other. All that has ever happened to us, our upbringing, and even our genes will have something to do with whether we look for the good or the bad in life. We are ‘wired’ to expect the best or to automatically expect the worst. Wise people throughout the ages tell us that life goes the way we expect it to. If we expect bad things or if we expect good things, we will get what we expected or asked for. If this has truth in it, then why would a rational and intelligent person choose pessimism over optimism; misery over happiness?  Why do we expect so little out of life? Why are there so few optimists?

Our ‘programming’ is the key. It is not easy to be optimistic. It is much easier to be pessimistic. A reason is we primarily live in a negative world. Negativism, pessimism, complaining, fear and doubt ‘rule’ the world. If we are going to go with the flow, then we will fall right in with the world of pessimism. If we want to be an optimistic we have to work hard at it; we have to go against the grain and be proactive. We have to be the fish that swims upstream while all the others choose to swim downstream. It requires much less effort to swim downstream. If it were easier to swim upstream, everyone would be doing it.

Throughout life we have been programmed with negatives, ‘no’s, “cant’s”, fear of failure, and a myriad of different reasons why we should have low expectations. Before we became adults, we heard many more ‘no’s than “yes’s” from parents and other adults. These same things continue during adult lives. All this is part of our ongoing negative programming.

The good news is that we can choose to reject the negative and replace it with a positive outlook. It is not easy; it takes dedication, perseverance and self discipline. Life rewards us based on what we want from it, if we want more we must expect more. An optimistic outlook is one step toward getting more.

Challenge:  Is your disposition toward negative or positive? Do you look for good or bad? Do you expect good results or bad results? You can choose optimism over pessimism. It will change your life. Start being aware of how your mind is thinking and doing. Intercept the negative thoughts, opinions, and reasoning that supports your negative outlook. Replace negatives with positives. Change your programming, Stick with it. Do not give up.

Wisdom: If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought. Peace Pilgrim

Spiritual: (NIV)

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.  Psalm 31:24

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

If we really understood how much God loves us, we would overcome being pessimistic.  It we really understood how great God is and how much He wants us to succeed at life, we would a have better outlook. If we allowed the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our lives, there would be no way for us to fail, and we would start raising our expectations. We would expect more out of this life and we would start receiving what we expected.

Prayer:  Help me to have high expectations and strong faith, and help me to be all that I can be. 

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