A Brief Pause for Optimism

I have been sick as a dog and I haven’t seen the sun in weeks, so it wouldn’t surprise me if my blog posts have tended more toward the dark side of late. I wouldn’t be surprised, but I can’t work up the energy to look, so I’ll just cover my bases and extend my apologies. Rest assured that I will snap out of it eventually.

In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to check out my blog post entitled, “Congratulations, You’re Alive!” I think it’s one of my most optimistic and upbeat posts, and it’s one I revisit quite often to remind myself how lucky I am. It also happens to be included in my first book, which is all about gratitude, and is guaranteed to put a little extra spring in your step, just in case you’ve noticed that your steps haven’t been quite as springy of late.

I’ll just end on that note, while I desperately cast about for an unused tissue. Oh, and here’s a bit of sunshine to brighten your day. Tra la!


Changing Your Tune

There are very few things that I find more irritating than hearing someone sing off key. That’s a bit ironic, because trust me when I tell you that you never, ever want to hear me sing. It’s kind of genetic. When my family launches into a Christmas carol, all the stray cats abandon the neighborhood. In that way you might call it a public service. Pest abatement. Yeah, that’s what it is!

But at least I know my kryptonite. I don’t force anyone to listen to me sing unless they’re taking a shower with me. I try to be compassionate and be a positive aural force in the world by keeping my mouth shut.

I’m assuming that all those bad singers out there have no idea how bad they are or they wouldn’t subject themselves to the humiliation, or subject others to the torture. That makes me wonder how many things we all do badly without even realizing it. It’s really mission-critical to be as self-aware as you can possibly be.

For example, we all know people with negative attitudes. They’re draining to be around. They make you feel as if your very life force is being eaten away by the sheer weight of their pessimism.

I can think of several people like that. Their default position is mistrust, doubt, and cynicism. They assume the worst and expect others to convince them otherwise. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the energy for that.

I know one guy who wonders why no one will spend time with him, and can’t understand why he can’t get a date. To the rest of the world it’s blatantly obvious. He’s toxic. He’s a downer. He’s the very antithesis of a pleasure to be around. No one looks forward to spending time with him.

I’m not sure why he can’t see it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting everyone to turn into Little Mary Sunshine and go through life farting rainbows. But it’s also a lot to ask of people to expect them to stand still while you suck all the good vibes out of the room.

I really don’t know the solution to this, other than to take a good hard look at yourself and think, “If I knew someone like me, would I look forward to being in that person’s company?” If not, perhaps it’s time for you to start singing a different tune.


Raise Your Head

I used to know someone who was so pessimistic that it was draining to be in his presence. I’m not exactly Little Mary Sunshine myself, but I do have a fundamental philosophical difference with that guy that we were never able to resolve. I believe your attitude can dictate your mood. He believes that you have no control over your mood whatsoever. He used to say, “I’m not going to paint a plastic smile on my face.” It made me want to slap the white off his teeth.

I really felt sorry for him. He constantly gave away his power. It was as if he was this helpless creature to whom happiness or sadness was bestowed, and he had no choice in the matter. It kind of makes you understand why some people make sacrifices to their higher power. If you have no control, the only thing you can do is cajole, flatter and beg. How exhausting.

In fairness, it must be much easier to keep your head firmly planted in your hind end like that. Then you don’t have to take any responsibility for the way your life turns out. But on the other hand, if you raise your head and look about you, you have the opportunity to see your situation in comparison with others who are worse off than you are. You have a chance to shift your focus. You learn how to solve problems, and most of all, you see the abundance that is spread before you.

This Thanksgiving, if at no other time, raise your head. Be grateful. Appreciate your unique life. Smile often. Who knows? It just might become a habit.