As a young college student, I certainly received my fair share of criticism for being naive optimist. Optimists are often chastised for having no sense of reality. But just because you hope for the best doesn’t mean you are naive and ignorant to reality. Likewise, just because you are a black and white realist doesn’t mean you are immune to emotions or a superior logical being.
My grandmother is the most optimistic and positive person I know. In my August 2016 Newsletter, I said that my grandmother showed me the key to happiness in life. However, she also taught me the true value of optimism by always looking at the silver linings in life.
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Optimism Keeps Dreams Alive
When my dad was young, my grandmother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Just by chance, one of the few doctors in the country who could help her happened to be in town. After her operation, the doctor said she probably would not regain mobility in her left arm. However, she believed she could. She exercised every day lifting her arm little by little. Today, you would never know she had such a debilitating prognosis. Her optimism was the first step to overcoming this.
Optimism keeps your dreams alive. Without anything to look forward to or hope for, why would we pursue anything? Why would we dream to reach beyond what we already have? Optimism dares us to reach beyond the norm. It encourages us to pursue something better.
Optimism Prevents Bitterness
When my grandmother was a young adult, her farm was stolen and her family was placed in an internment camp. It was one of the darkest moments in recent American history. She gave birth to two of her children while imprisoned. Additionally, her mother died there. As my father remorsefully puts it, “she never saw freedom again.”
However, my grandmother never allowed this turn into hatred and bitterness. She maintained a positive outlook afterward and continued to move forward with her life. Instead of being stuck in the past, her optimism propelled her forward. Having a positive outlook during and after a bad situation completely determines what you will take away from it.
Optimism Keeps You Open to the Good
At the grand age of eighty-years-old, my grandmother received her GED. She received just a third-grade education during childhood until she had to continue working on the family farm. She always told me her parents never valued her much. Therefore, her education was not a high priority to them. However, even many decades later, my grandmother continued to pursue her education. She didn’t shut the door on her education because the time had passed. Instead, she believed that she deserved and could attain a GED. To this day, it’s one of her greatest accomplishments. Maintaining optimism and positivity will keep you open to the good. It will prevent you from automatically shutting the door on possibilities out the fear of rejection or failure.
Being optimistic is not the same as being ignorant or naive. It’s OK to be optimistic! In fact, optimism can help you overcome even the cruelest and most difficult situations in life. Combined with determination, hard work, and strategy, you can and will conquer anything.
What do you think? Who do you look up to for optimism and positivity? Have you been criticized for being too optimistic or too realistic before?