Independently Happy

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Optimism Is Not Enough

Don’t overrate optimism.  Don’t get me wrong, optimism is way better than pestimism (Word!), but it’s empty without action.  It’s just fluff.  Eventually, optimism will run out.  We’ll stop falling for it. We need objective evidence, something we can see or feel.  We need something we did or something we are doing.   Although it is vital for building happiness, optimism is not enough.

I’m an existentialist (Don’t leave yet! Second to last big word, I promise!!.)  I believe in the Kierkegaardian (That’s the last one!) philosophy that Truth is Subjectivity.  [More on that next week!]  Sure, there are some solid facts out there that opinions can’t change.

The point is our perception of reality is influenced by our outlook, our pessimism or optimism.  Our truth is subjective.

optimism-not-enough

Will the Circle Be Unbroken

There’s a reality.   We perceive the reality.  Our outlook–our optimism or pessimism–determines how we perceive that reality.

Our perception determines how we interpret that reality, how it makes us feel.  That interpretation influences how we act.  Or don’t act.

Action

We’re back to Action.

The results of our actions will affect how the reality ends up, which will, in turn, determine our level of optimism or pessimism.

Full circle.  Is it a vicious circle or virtuous circle?  That depends on our outlook, optimism or pessimism.

The Virtuous or Vicious Circle

That process continues unless we break the circle.  To stop a vicious circle and start growing happier, we’ve got to jump on that merry-go-round somewhere.

Reality

We can’t change reality.

We can affect it.   We can work to make sure our reality is better in the future.  We can’t change the current reality, though, so let’s not jump in there.

History

We can’t change the past, those experiences that have led to our current demeanor.

It’s already happened, and can’t go back in time to fix it.  Our best bet is to work for a better future.

optimism-not-enough

Outlook

We have to jump on the merry-go-round at our outlook.  We have to change how we think, so we can see the hope and possibilities instead of what will probably go wrong.

Most of those things that we pessimisize (Word!) will happen….They won’t happen.  We’ll do nothing but worry, and the bad stuff won’t even happen.  Our worry and pessimism will be for nothing.  We’ll suffer for something that doesn’t happen.

So optimism makes better sense.  Optimism, thinking—knowing we can work to make reality better, works.  Pessimism will make us do nothing.  Optimism will encourage us to try something.

If the bad stuff rarely happens when we do nothing, then how much better chance do we give our future with optimism and action?

HA!  There it is. Action.

Action is the key

Optimism hopefully leads to action.  Am I being too optimistic about that?  Action will lead to:

  • the results
  • the progress
  • or at least a lesson

that will build and sustain happiness.

Optimism makes us happier to have the opportunity, but the lack of action will lead to regret that we didn’t take action.  And regret is THE WORST.

That’s how optimism isn’t enough.

As great as it is, without action, optimism is just hope.

As great as hope is, without action, it can turn pessimistic pretty quickly.

Let’s make that our thing.

Be optimistic.

Then act.

Repeat.

Am I being too hard on optimism?  Or do you agree that action is essential?  Please comment below and let me know what you think.

Although Disqus is great, and I recommend registering for it to enjoy its full functionality, you can bypass registration if you click “Start the discussion…,” then Name, and the “I’d rather post as a guest” checkbox appears.

As if by magic.

Try it. I dare you.

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