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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Of Little Good Things, and Optimism

So many times we complain about what's not right in our lives; but do we really appreciate the value of all those little nice things that happen to us everyday? This may sound like another of the philosophical speeches that riddle the print, screen, and online media. But then, this one's inspired by some nice things that happened to me recently, and how they brightened my gloomy day.
Recently, my TV decided to stop working, and I lost part of my mid-exam relaxation. Worst paper got postponed. Oh hell, bad day. But then suddenly, my baby blog got its first comment. I got to see a wonderful 'moment' picture on one blog I follow, and it reminded me of all the happy moments with my friends and family. I sat musing, and when I came out of my daydreaming spell, I was feeling so much better. My fatigue from studying Geography and Bengali Grammar was gone. My anger at the Geography teacher for knowing less Geography than me, poof. My TV gloom, what gloom? I felt happy, refreshed, and raring to go and finish that whole irritating exam business up. Nice, isn't it? I've made it a point now to try to find the good in things and to notice good little things to cheer me up, which is a good habit for anyone, especially teenagers like me.
Well, seeing the good of everything, that's what I said just now, right? That brings another philosophical word up: 'Optimism'. And its cousins, of course. 'Optimistic', 'optimist', and the like. When someone, a friend, a relative, or a sibling, complains of anything bad in their lives, we advise them to see the good in things. "You're too pessimistic, be an optimist man. That's the way to deal with life. That's what I do..." and blah, blah, blah. But is it so easy to be optimistic? Can we always bring ourselves to look at the bright side, the silver lining? Without advice given? Spontaneously? I doubt. Being optimistic requires a mindset, and conscious exercise to make a habit of optimism. Consciously searching for the good when you see the bad. For instance, that 'little good things' exercise can be part of a self-conversion-to-optimism drive.
And it requires the intent to be optimistic. People have often told me, "Optimism is useless and impractical when there's no possibility of anything positive". "See solutions to the problem instead of not seeing the problem". And as my friend once put it (before an exam, as you might have guessed), with some saying I suppose, "The optimist invented the aeroplane, the pessimist invented the parachute". 
Let's  answer these befittingly, in order. First off, seeing possibility of good IS optimism, and that means trying to find a solution and any positive effects of the problem, which is intelligent and practical. Second, once again, optimism means to see the solution, and it does not mean losing sight of the problem. It means to understand it and see all possibilities instead of only the negative. Not silly avoidance, practical solution-seeking. And, logical thinking brings up this conclusion: the pessimist shirked away from the aeroplane, as he was afraid of falling and breaking his bones and losing his precious life. Then the optimist came along and thought of the possibility of saving someone who falls, and he ended up finding a solution, the parachute!
What I mean to say is, optimism opens new possibilities of solutions to us. It does not blind us from the gravity of a problem, it helps us in solving it, and in keeping a cool head by doing so; as when we have a complete view of the circumstances, we can level-headedly deal with it. And being aware of the positive effects of a negative occurrence can only help us work better at solutions. So friends, let us make an effort to be optimistic. Starting today, now. Optimism will keep you happy, and help you sail smoothly through your daily life. It will increase your confidence. I'm not guaranteeing success: but you will definitely learn more, live better, and emerge happier if you are optimistic.
As for me, optimism has helped me be a better student, a better person and a better friend. I can help myself and others better, I can organise events and answer questions better. Give optimism a try, folks. It really WORKS.

Pictures: Internet (Google Image Search: optimism)


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