“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.”
– Nicholas Murray Butler (1862 – 1947)
What does it mean to be optimistic? What is that life like as an optimistic person? The answers may vary. Ask a family with five children, a single working mom, an owner of a business, a retired person, a person with disability, a wealth person, a poor person, a person with a terminal illness or battling an illness, a person with addiction and depression. The answers may vary, and the answers might surprise you.
“Most true happiness comes from one’s inner life, from the disposition of the mind and soul. Admittedly, a good inner life is hard to achieve, especially in these trying times. It takes reflection and contemplation and self-discipline.”
– William L. Shirer (1904 – 1993)
American Journalist and Historian
There are times when you just can’t mention optimism or hope to someone. It can be too early after a loss or illness. There are sometimes when a person is just in a dark fog and cannot see clearly.
After a while, with a bit of luck, hope and optimism will come knocking at your door. It may be a gentle tap, but hope will eventually seek everyone out. I recently made a Hope Box. It was after many weeks of building a safe place and making a tool kit of strength and safety. Making the box was a liberating experience. When making it, I wondered how I would have felt had I seen into the future many, many weeks ago seeing myself sitting happy, strong, and full of hope today. Would I have believed it?
“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”
– Joseph Addison (1672 – 1719)
English Writer and Statesman
In my hope box, I included what I am blessed to do for my career, and all that I am able to do that I love in my life, but especially what I am hoping for in the near and distant future. Perhaps that is what optimism is to me, looking forward to an exciting future filled with many wonderful events and experiences.
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”
– William James (1842 – 1910)
American Philosopher and Psychologist
I am finding “the real me” and that can-do attitude is leading me, and I am following that inner voice. Optimism means a lot of different things to a lot of people. Some cannot handle having hope shoved down their throats and positivity thrown at them. Sometimes, it just takes a while to see clearly. Sometimes it does “take a village”, with a lot of patience and hope for the future.
At 63, I remember that once I thought I knew all the secrets to achievement, happiness, and success. Now I am learning a whole new ball game of what truly matters in life and what truly constitutes riches in life.
Thank you for reading,
David Earl Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!