Optimism: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something.
According to German polymath and philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, this world is the best of all possible worlds (I can imagine the eye rolls). But do we believe in what one of the greatest mathematician and philosopher had said?
The only answer to this question is our fascination for the unknown — the worst case scenario. Preparing for the worst will not only lessen (or even numb) the disappointment but will also ensure that we are never caught off guard. Sounds familiar, right?
A few days back I was talking to a friend who was really worried about the result of his entrance exam. He was pretty sure that he will not be getting a good score to which I said that he should not fret unnecessarily. “I am just being practical,” came his pat reply. I wonder where his practicality was when he was whiling away his time binge-watching web series while his books were catching dust in a corner. The problem lies not in the problem but the way we deal with the problem. Optimism never meant expecting the best. It simply means working towards the best each and every day without getting attached to the outcome. It’s completely fine to make mistakes. Whether you choose to learn and march on or mull over them makes the difference.
The ‘You-Are-As-Good-As-You-Are-Better-Than-Someone-Else’ Mentality
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
We take pride in being the ‘result-oriented’ species. Results call for comparison with the benchmarks set by others. Thus, we all end up being measured with the same (yet oft unfair) yardstick. Instead of striving to be the best version of ourselves each day, our addled brain is planted with the seeds of insecurity and envy. Above all, our belief in self goes for a toss. Neither are we happy in someone else’s happiness nor are we truly happy in our own happiness. Why not surpass your own benchmark rather than xyz’s?
Realism=Pessimism; Naivety=Optimism — An Analogy We All Are Way Too Familiar With
So, seeking the worst counts as being practical? Food for thought, eh? There is a difference between surmounting challenges and visualising the worst that can happen.
Gratitude Is The Best Attitude
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.
Have you ever noticed how on some days when you start a fresh day with a foul mood, one after the other things just go wrong? You wake up late, get stuck in traffic, are reprimanded by your boss/professor and the list goes on. On the other hand, you get up on time, are greeted by only green signals and get praised by your boss/professor. The first scenario is you being in a bad mood, thinking negative thoughts. Similarly, the second scenario is a result of you being in a positive frame of mind and allowing serendipity to grace your life. Gratitude and good thoughts attract more things to be thankful about (Law of Attraction in full swing) which subsequently results in a day well spent (you reap what you sow/what goes around comes around).
In short, we all have our bouts of negative rushes and it’s fine to not be all sunshine and rainbows at times. The best thing to do is to feel everything, keep what resonates and let go of the rest. Our experiences are shaped by our thoughts. Therefore, optimism is the only practical choice we have.