Probably the most annoying trait of the optimist is optimism; the ability to see the good in even the most desperate of circumstances.
While humanity is programmed to remain in a state of fear, lack, discomfort and confusion, there are a few people who have either pushed beyond the programming or are born with an innate instinct to see the goodness, or at least the possibility of goodness, in anything that appears to be dismal.
So uncommon is it in our society that optimists are ridiculed, bullied and made fun of throughout their tenure from the playground to the boardroom.
The effect of bad news is to “keep you down,” to keep the population so confused, angry, sad or depressed that it is improbable that one might seek solution for problems or to retain hope of a better world.
The special ability (or superpower) of the optimist is to see things from a broader perspective. While a particular scene may be absolutely dire, the view of the optimist can zoom out to as wide a view as may be necessary to see how this particular incident plays a significant part of a positive and uplifting outcome; a result that may have not been possible at all if not for this lackluster or even horrific episode.
In no way does this make light of the specific atrocity that consumes the attention and energy of the short-sighted individual who is intensely focused on the atrocity. Even the optimist is emotionally impacted by the event as any normal person would be.
The optimist knows that it is always darkest before the dawn and the light of a new day shed upon the landscape reveals even more than the day before because we do not exist within a timeless vacuum.
Growth necessitates change and change often comes from less than desirable circumstances. If there were no conflict, no confusion, no pain or suffering, there would be no growth, no change and no life.
Abraham Lincoln is credited as saying, “The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty,” this coming from a man who persisted in the worst of circumstances through difficult times and overcoming his personal shortcomings and not being thwarted by failure to become one of the most impactful Presidents of the United States.
It is this ability to visualize the big picture, a brighter future that helps the individual push-through the ugliness and despair to change – not only their individual circumstances – but the world for the better. It is a common trait amongst positive risk takers and change makers who inspire the rest of us to consider there might be hope in an otherwise dark future with ominous fearful overtones.
Nonetheless, if the past is any indication, things do get better. Our humanity has gone through tremendous growth, change and advancement to get us to where we are today. Even in just the last hundred years, we have progressed so much it is nearly unfathomable when compared to the rest of our existence. This alone, should forecast a brighter future, even in light of all the negative press and media.
Even in our darkest moments, our future is spectacular and those leading in love are the light bearers leading the way to a brighter day.