I am an optimist. This was not always true. In my late teens and 20s, I was a pessimist preferring to have a "real" view of life with the occasional pleasant surprise. That changed.
In the course of my personal evolution, I became involved in a long series of philosophical debates about what "the good" was. In the course of my arguments, I asserted the principal that happiness can only come from within. That pleasure was not the same as happiness. That only the individual can determine how he or she will react to any given stimulus. We have all met the person who could win one million dollars and still be filled with complaints. Likewise, we have all met the person who is so disgustingly happy that you could tear the persons limbs off and beat them to death with the bloody stumps and they would still smile.
In the end, I concluded that external conditions, such as pleasure and pain simply exist and are neither good nor evil. Rather, all good and evil come from the will of man; typically how he reacts to the pleasure or pain, success or failure. Does the ravaging disease you suffer from cause you to curse and be in sorrow or do you give thanks for each day you have, offer up your suffering, and strive to lead the way by overcoming or adapting.
I believe that Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, "I find that most people are just about as happy as they make their minds up to be." Some people have conditions which tend to cause depression or mania. Virtually no one can celebrate the joy of life on the occasion of the death of a child. But most of the time, most people, under most circumstances, are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
I just concluded my second non-consecutive term as president of the Clay County Breakfast Optimist Club. The Optimist creed is something I strive to live by and would commend to anyone. The creed reads as follows:
Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all of your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past, and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, to noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
They say that optimists and pessimists are equally correct in their outlooks. However, optimists are much happier, live longer, and are more likely to achieve their goals.
Is the glass half empty or half full? Is it partly sunny or mostly cloudy? Although objective reality shows that they are both the same, to some degree, perception really does matter.
I am an optimist. I always anticipate success with each of my undertakings. I know that luck is directly correlated to both hard work and working smart. In the end, the most that I can do is to be the best person that I can be, and by example and encouragement, try to lead others to be the best that they can be.
If this is matches your beliefs, if it is something you aspire to, or if you are just curious about people who are "foolishly optimistic," consider joining us on any Saturday morning from 8-9 a.m., at American Legion Post 2 in the conference room. You have to eat breakfast anyway. You will likely hear an interesting local speaker talk about local history, their business, or some thing important to him or her. You will also find some of Clay Counties finest citizens from every economic level from successful business owner to public assistance recipient.
I optimistically look forward to seeing a few new faces on Saturday!