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What is optimism?

Optimism is an attitude that keeps us centered on what is good about our present situation or about the future. Everything that is nice or delightful in this world exists alongside pain and loss; optimism is a conscious selective focus on the good.

Optimism gives us energy; it makes our efforts feel worthwhile. In the end it is rewarded because even though some of these efforts will fail, others will succeed, and we can’t know ahead of time which are which. When we are optimistic, we are happier and better company—we help other people to be happy and hopeful, too.

In today’s society, it seems it is harder for many of us to be optimistic. Let me share a story with you.

the-little-boy-and-the-old-man-by-crispy-gypsyThere was once a young man that always gripped about how he always had bad luck and never seemed to have any money. It was constant, day in and day out.

One day an older gentleman noticed this and decided to approach him, “Hey kid, why are you always so unhappy and gripping all of the time?”

“I just can’t seem to figure out why I am always broke!” the kid said.

The gentleman said very sincerely, “What the heck to you mean, “broke”? I think you are pretty well off!”

The boy, now looking puzzled said, “Why do you say that? Your way off your rocker!”

“Well then”, the gentleman continued, “suppose that someone gave you $1000 to cut your finger off. Would you consider doing that?”

“Heck no!” the boy replied.

“Well then what if someone offered you $10,000 to hack your leg off. Would you do that?” said the gentleman.

Again the boy replied, “Heck no! Are you crazy?”

The gentleman continued, “Okay then, what if someone offered you $1,000,000,000 to turn you into a 90 year old man in the blink of an eye, would you do it?”

“That is a BIG NEGATIVE! Absolutely not!” the boy replied, now frustrated at the questions.

The gentleman, now smiling continued, “You see, you have just now put a value on your existence. So why are you still griping that you have nothing and are poor? Each of us comes into this world with bare hands and each of us will leave this world with bare hands. Even if we have been lucky to own a kingdom of wealth, we are unable to take any of it with us when it is our time.

The true wealth is concealed within our being, within our souls. We must have our hearts in the right place as we go through our lives. You see, if we are only happy with what we can get we will never be happy. However, if we can be happy with what we do have, we will never be poor. To be content is to be rich!”

As the gentleman finished his sentence it finally dawned on the young man that the more kindness that we each leave behind, the more harmony we will all have in our world.

You see, if everyone does a little bit of good, bit by bit, we can each make a world that is harmonious with our souls purpose.