Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Cynical Optimist

Is your glass half-full?

Or is the grass always greener on the other side of the street? Do you feel that no matter what happens, as long as you try your hardest, do your best, be kind to others and think nice thoughts things will work out? Or do you feel that it doesn’t matter what you do, bad things, eventually, will happen to good people. Maybe you think that all politicians are crooks; bankers and lawyers too? And the government—they don’t really care about us, they are just hanging around taking kickbacks and creating scandals, right? Perhaps that’s being too…what? Cynical? Or am I being too optimistic? Jeez, I can’t win!

Maybe that’s it—we just can’t win!

That’s crazy, of course you can, you just have to keep on keeping on and put your nose to the grindstone. It will all work out in the end—time heals all wounds, right?

The heck with time: what about all the world’s problems—hunger, war, terrorism, racism, unaffordable health care, unemployment, corruption, apathy!

Okay, but what about the miracle of watching your child come into the world, the awesome naked beauty of a sunset, the natural sensation you get from laughing so hard that tears streak your cheeks?

Tears are right! I feel like crying whenever I think about not having a job, the cost of gasoline, the jokers in Washington (and Europe), and my child support payments!

Tears of joy for having the ability to earn a living, being able to afford to own a car that you can drive across this amazing country; the freedom to choose your leaders, vote for change, and the blessing given to you to have the opportunity to raise a child.

Man, talk about a cockeyed optimist!

Boy, what a negative cynic!

Who am I describing? Anyone you know? Or do the above diatribes hit closer to home?

Are you one of those people who believes that everyday brings with it the opportunity to do something incredible?

Or one that dreads waking up to another miserable twenty-fours of getting stepped on, tossed aside, paranoid that someone is going to do something bad to you?

Me? I like to think that good things will happen to me—and you too!—if I put a positive spin on everything in my life. In fact, I strongly believe that a good mental attitude, filled with positive energy and happy thoughts, goes a long way toward a healthy, happy, fulfilling life.

Yeah, but what about—

I know, I know, there is a lot of bad in the world, lots of heartache and pain; suffering. And there are often terrible and unavoidable pitfalls and horrors that befall each and every one of us, sometimes daily or weekly, but certainly several times throughout our lives.

Guess what? It’s called LIFE. And LIFE happens, with us out without us.

“Life is the definition of imperfection.”
- Mike Foster

You can’t have a gorgeous sunset without clouds, can’t put a roof over your head without cutting down some trees, and cannot live life without a few (or several) tough breaks occurring along the way.

The key to a successful, happy, healthy life is staring at you in the mirror every morning when you brush those choppers—you. I’m not saying turn your back on your problems, or ignore the atrocities that afflict millions of innocent human beings by just smiling at the new day and hoping for the best.

What I’m saying is we all have a choice, to either find that happiness, that hope that resides in all of us. Or embrace the darkness, the negativity, that cynicism that lives within us too.

And even if you are faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, have to deal with daily drudgery and setbacks; even if your life, or a loved one’s life, seems destined to turn into nothing but bad luck and heartache, you, too, have a choice.

Deal, cope, survive.

Smile, love, live.

Am I as hopeful and cheerful and optimistic as I can be all the time? No. Do I sometimes fall victim of feeling victimized, or think that the world, and my little slice of it, seems hopeless and a waste of time? Sometimes, but, thankfully, not very often.

The key, again, is right inside your head, your heart and soul. And embracing the wonderful paradox derived from living each moment, striving for the best possible existence, every day in every way.

Until next time…




healthy kitchen said...

this post made me smile. thanks.

i've been feeling bad for a couple of days now. nothing seems to be going right. but then, reading your post reminds me of the fact that i am not the only one in the world with problems.

Goyang Karawang said...

good article.. i like this article.. because it related to my research

Dwacon said...

Staying on the sunny site, Mike!

Lisa said...

I loved how you mentioned that it is a choice to see the bowl half empty or full. There are so many things out of our control, but how we view the world is in our control & has a huge effect on our happiness! Thanks for another great article!

Susan Blake said...

Hi Mike! I've come to know that the only thing I can control are my thoughts - and sometimes that alone is an undertaking! But optimistic? You betcha! To the point I have certain friends who will call just to hear an upbeat outlook. Bet you do too!

Barry said...

It does take a little more work these days, but my attitude generally remains positive. Coming here helps. Really enjoyed the video.

Unknown said...

healthy kitchen: very pleased that i could help...peace

goyang: thanks for dropping by...

dwacon: sunny side is the best...

lisa: we can always chose, no matter how dire, how we react to the worst, and best, of what life had to offer...

suzen: you are so right...and always a breath of fresh air...thanks for being you...i owe you a visit to your site...i am so behind...peace...

barry: thanks, barry, hope all is well...and positive thoughts headed your way...



Rod said...

I think being an optimist, is all about the way you think and the way you live, you live long enough and experience things, almost without hardly ever trying you naturally become a pessimist, just by the environment we live in now a days. It's important to cultivate and maintain an optimist state of mind.

Dr. Mark said...

I think you are spot on Mike. Life happens, and all we can do is choose how we react to it. Staying positive is sometimes difficult but it beats the alternative.

Unknown said...

rod: very good points...we do drive our fates with how we project ourselves

dr mark: it is all about how we react to life...keeping cool and positive is a challenge, but well worth the effort



cynic's happiness catalogue said...


As skeptical as I am about many self-help-related books, websites, magazines etc., I like your blog! It seems healthy and you're not going for the easy fixes that I find so annoying in much of the happiness discourse.

So thanks!