Be optimistic during times of strife and stress? What are you thinking?! And even if you are a Half-Full kind of person, doesn’t the Sybil in you just want to ask: yeah, but full of what? If this is you, click yes and keep reading me. For the rest of you, keep reading me.
Some people are tempted to be smarmy about “optimism,” but the quest for this quality during challenging times doesn’t have to be a ridiculous, trifling or an, um…optimistic ideal. I solidly believe in this esoteric idea: we already know everything we need to know to be happier, centered and highly functioning in life. All we have to do is to remember what we dreamed to live our largest life possible. See?, now that is the ridiculously challenging quest! But I believe in you.
Parse the smoke and mirrors. During times like these when financial pundits, foreign policy experts, and Joe the Plumbers alike espouse “never seen anything like this before”-isms freely and regularly on CNN, FOX News and other squawk boxes 24/7, the trick to surviving the mess with less stress isn’t “knowing what to do,” but rather “how to (think).” The problems are still going to be there whether you know what to do about them or not. I’m not saying shirk your responsibilities; just stop worrying about worrying, and start thinking right.
The trick to remembering your “how to (thrive)” is focus. Right focus. Right focus, even through all the distractions, external and the noise you bring. Devil’s playground, and all… Best to practice shutting your own mind trap first. The rest of the din grows surprisingly quieter soon after. Discipline your child, discipline your mind.
Optimism is just another goal. A choice. What you think and the choices you make are the difference. Be the Optimism you want to see, grasshoppa. Redirect all that thinking at your Big Picture, not the petty, annoying or worrisome details you usually allow 95% of your brain cache. Garbage in, garbage out, yes? Then once you’re focused on your Big Picture, you have a place to go, a.k.a. a destination. Now, I know everyone loves to get all Joseph Campbell-y about “the journey” and I’m a JC believer like that, too!, it’s true, life is a journey not the destination. But that’s not always how our silly big ole Humunkie minds work, darlin’s. Switch it up. Right focus on the Big Picture of the life quality you came here to create for yourself, then go all Nike action plan and just do it. And then get up and try again the next and next day…
So I’ll ask you again: What are you thinking? It’s as simple and hard as that. Attaining a lasting inner peace, especially when tested during loud, thin, false distraction-laden and hard times like these, takes practice. The practice of conscious intentions (Big Picture) and right focus (the daily walk of your talk). Practice is what we all do between birth and death. With any luck, we’ve all got a lot of practice to do, so better get offline and…just start wherever you are.
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