As a business educator, I found myself one time in class saying, “There is always blue sky. Often times it is merely hidden by the clouds.” It was met by genuine smiles, looks of pondering and maybe even the odd roll of eyes. I respectfully invite you to consider the following.
I understand cynicism. I understand its birthplace. It is born of seeing so much ugliness of spirit and action so as to believe that the ugliness is reality. With it, the clouds are our reality. Indeed, while the forces of both disintegration and integration are at work in the world, our collective canvas is often painted by a seemingly endless stream of “bad”.
This post on the Opening Ceremonies of the RIO Olympics is telling. It speaks to and acknowledges the cynicism. It also addresses the optimism and beauty that we can build and observe alike.
Last week, I saw Suicide Squad. I did not know what to expect and held my own brand of healthy skepticism before going in; but going in I did. By the way, I believe skepticism to be a healthy form of cynicism. Cynicism has decided the world sucks. Skepticism is open, while questioning. In experiencing the movie, I was pleasantly surprised. The darkness was evident but so was the potential for humanity and the nobility of the human spirit. My point? Optimism and idealism are neither blind nor naive. They see the real; and all sides of it. Still they believe in the possibility.
A positive viewpoint and faith in all circumstances; they do not ignore the circumstances. A focus on positive outcomes and solutions does not ignore that problems exist. Indeed, it focuses on that reality while seeing the possibility of resolution. Being hopeful and resilient does not imply ignorance. They imply vision and courage. Having a dream with a plan is not naive. It is necessary. Walking our talk with perseverance requires walking, and through the challenges. You cannot walk through the negative without seeing it any more than you can walk through a minefield without sensing that there are mines. With optimism and idealism, we make a difference; and a difference is needed. Without a difference, there is defeat. Defeat is the realm of cynicism. We have given up and in to some sense of inevitability and predictability… of the bad.
What if we could approach our campuses, communities and companies with an Olympic optimism and idealism? What if we believed in the possibility and were prepared to do the freakin’ work? What would that look like in the world and our corners of it? How can we manifest true optimism and idealism that sees challenges and opportunities, with healthy skepticism that questions and robust optimism and idealism that believes in our capacity to rise above and walk through? What would that look like in the classroom, as educators and students? What would it look like in business and the workplace; as employers and employees? What would it look like in service? What about in our communities and families?
Indeed. In deed. What would Olympic Optimism look like in our daily lives at school work and community? What would what I am now strangely but affectionately calling Suicidal Optimism look like where we are willing to sacrifice our cynicism in exchange for a bountiful dose of optimism and idealism that lives with powerful and questioning skepticism… seeing the challenges as tests and teachers of our capacity. What would that look like? What would it take? What if we worked for that?
Peace, passion and prosperity.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™
Barry is ultimately a strength coach. His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and resourcefulness. That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™. EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.
My own personal take on optimism and idealism… Dancing with the Dragons. It is my sense of optimism and idealism and its relevance for my life; personally and humbly offered here.
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