How are you today?
The Optimist vs the Pessimist - Poem by William Arthur Ward¹
The optimist turns the impossible into the possible; the pessimist turns the possible into the impossible. The optimist pleasantly ponders how high the kite will fly; the pessimist woefully wonders how soon the kite will fall. The optimist sees a green near every sand trap; the pessimist sees a sand trap near every green. The optimist looks at the horizon and sees an opportunity; the pessimist peers into the distance and fears a problem. To the optimist all doors have handles and hinges; to the pessimist all doors have locks and latches. The optimist promotes progress, prosperity and plenty; the pessimist preaches limitations, liabilities and losses. The optimist accentuates assets, abundance, and advantages; the pessimist majors in mistakes, misfortunes and misery. The optimist goes out and finds the bell; the pessimist gives up and wrings his or her hands.
Can your remember the first time someone asked you this question? How about the last time? There are typically two types of responses you will hear to this question, idealistic or temporarily realistic. Those whose answer is Idealistic are those who will answer not based on how they feel or the circumstances, but based on what they believe.
On top of a very high Hill in Colorado springs sits a country club called "The Pinery". October the 11th at noon, 2018 I was rushing to meet my father-in-law for lunch there. Company like this was becoming more common these days, but it was a far cry from financially based scholarships and government assistance from my childhood. Dr. Miller began to introduce me to key leaders in the "Fellowship of Christian athletes" here in the springs, when my life changed. Approaching the table was a 5'9", bald headed war veteran. No left arm, or left eye and only two functioning fingers on his right hand. The medals on his crisp uniform made him someone you could not simply just look at. Lt. Clebe McClary is a prime example of someone whose day is dictated not by his feelings, but by his beliefs. 52 years of marriage, his wife nicknamed "Momma D", said her husband never complained at his loss. He used to have 3 working fingers but infection claimed his middle finger while he was speaking at an event. The doctor who performed the initial surgery was frustrated that the finger could not be saved. The Lt. smiled and looked at him and said, "As long as you can save my trigger finger, this old Marine will be happy!"
If I had to summarize this brave hero, I would use one of his own quotes, "P.A.T.C.H stands for Positive attitude that characterizes hope". Wow. No more to be said, I challenge you to simply think on that today.
How is your day going?
Can your remember the first time someone asked you this question? How about the last time? There are typically two types of responses you will hear to this question, idealistic or temporarily realistic. Those whose answer is temporarily realistic are those who will answer not based only on what they believe, but based on how their life is going in relation to their expectations.
In the back of a very big retailer in Fort Collins, sits a room called "The lounge". November, around 10:30 PM , 2015. I am sitting at a white plastic table, sleepily listening to the routine reading of sales. 25 people all staring like when you first open an can of anchovies at the man talking. We will be here all night working the grave shift and his "pep talk" is not working. To my right is an African American man who has been with the company for over 15 years. 3rd shift maintenance his occupation of choice, he cracks a feeble smile and awkwardly avoids eye contact. As I walk by him I ask him the question, "How is your day going?" I was very unprepared for what happened next. He gave me his well rehearsed dissertation on all the things wrong with the company. Every time he spoke, this was the song of his people, which he faithfully sung in whispers between managers. Never had I thought it possible to complain so much, so often, so sad.
If I had to summarize this fellow, I would quote the famous writer Henry David Thoreau, "The Mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation". Wow. I am not usually to keen on generalizations but I have met 10x's more people in the second group than the first. I challenge you to simply think on that today.
How are things?
All things equal, this is a primary indicator of how much perspective a person has on the truth, thoughtfulness and love in life. All things equal.
No difference in income, relationship, pain, glory, failure, environment. None.
The American dream has an assumption that as you get certain things, you will feel a certain way. I do not see it. All things equal you still get both groups of people.
It is almost as if the only thing that determines if you are living a dream or a nightmare, is you.
¹ = Dike, Chinedu, and Rajnish Manga. “The Optimist vs the Pessimist.” PoemHunter.com, 27 Aug. 2015, www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-optimist-vs-the-pessimist/.