Last night I posted on Facebook, the following:
Sorry but the increasingly common “surround yourself with only positive people” guidance seems to ignore two things. First, the strongest optimism is developed internally. Second, if the “positive ” people simply surround themselves with each other… it does not auger well for positive influence in the world. I get it. You should find your inner circle to be supportive, encouraging and there for you. But genuine optimism is brave enough to be in the real world of joy and pain and all that life offers. Just my two cents… but I am keeping these pennies.
Last weekend, I came across this article on pessimism and found it thought provoking. Optimism is so often seen as naive. But, I respectfully invite you to consider…
Focusing on solutions rather than problems does not imply that you do not recognize the problems. Seeing a brighter future does not imply you cannot see what stands in its way. Faith in all circumstances does imply that optimism recognizes the circumstances but is not defeated by them.
Whatever your faith, or none, please understand that every religion or movement or sacred tradition was born of a moment of crisis and very, very, very few followers. It would have been very easy to throw in the towel upon the apparent killing of your leader, and facing a world of hate, anger and danger.
Indeed, this past weekend, I also watched Batman vs Superman… and, without spoiling things, I will say that you get this sense of message by movie’s end. I did very much enjoy the film but it’s message at the end particularly resonated for me in light of this blog of today. The story of every sacred tradition or mission began or begins in absolute crisis. But there was and is a process of going from scared to sacred. Optimism is part of that process.
As an aside… personally, I am not a fan of the cult of personality and I do not believe that optimism is sourced from any one individual. We are each challenged to cultivate it… as we will need each other, independently thinking and cooperatively working… with optimism. Independence, cooperation and optimism are all virtues. We need them; but more on that in my next blog.
You cannot overcome what you do not see. Optimism understands that there are challenges. Still, it sees them as just that; challenges… and not impossible roadblocks intent on breeding cynicism and defeat. Healthy skepticism is about discernment. Cynicism is not.
Skepticism allows us to question while still believing. Cynicism only believes in the defeat of anything noble or good. Skepticism questions. Cynicism doubts and ignores. Optimism is the missing link.
We can and must question, but with a faith that we will find an answer. Despite our myriad challenges in the world today, history has proven (whether we care to admit it or not) that we have increasingly come together through trial and triumph alike. As humanity, we evolved from family units, to clans and tribes and villages and city states… to countries and regions and commonwealths. The circle of unity has indeed grown, through difficult times… and not the kind of unity born of naiveté but of practical and powerful capacity. It will continue.
I contend that the human spirit “gets it”. We too often forget our spirit and capacity. Our work is about just that. Remembering, embracing and engaging it. We do indeed “fiercely and unapologetically believe in the nobility of the human race and help build strong and inspired cultures at school, work, family and community… where everyone counts and contributes.” This is our brand of optimism; the good and noble fight.
As we enter this Easter Weekend, whatever faith or none, we constructively challenge you to believe in a better world; one that will require work and commitment and all the strengths of the human spirit.
Starting next week, we will continue and indeed advance on conversations and dialogue around character, capacity and creativity and their roles in engaging youth and leadership at school, family, work and community.
For now, enjoy the next few days and maybe catch that movie. 🙂
Peace, passion and prosperity.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™
Some musical messages of optimism…
- Rise Above This
- I’m Alive… think Optimism is singing this one to you 🙂
- Hall of Fame
- Battle Cry
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