I ask people quite frequently what is your goal in life and the most common answer I get across the spectrum is I just want to be happy.
For the longest time this left me with a question mark because I did not understand what was holding these people back from being happy. I would ask a few of them what would bring them happiness and I would get the stereotypical answer of a good job, nice car and house, to have a good family and to take care of my kids. Sometimes I would follow up with well how are you going to get there. This was the stumbler, usually I would get an answer about working hard and getting promotions, but the most common answer I get is to just be optimistic.
Optimism… are you serious
What is it for you, what is going to drive you forward to what your goal is? The reason I was so drawn back by the optimism answer is because I did not understand how optimism drove somebody forward. I do not think the majority of them knew how it did either, but it was the nice, positive thinking, good vibe thing to say. It showed that you had a glass half full perspective without relying on hope. I think the most common way that people would define optimism is just a positive outlook for the future. A dictionary definition says it means to expect the best.
So here is my problem and how I am working to change the way we see optimism. Optimism is nothing without action. If optimism is not pushing to action then it is not optimism. It is positive reinforcement so you can maintain the status quo. The common definition barely gets at it with the focus on the future, but the dictionary definition shows us there is something more to expect. When there is an expectation then there is something that we have to participate in the act of making the future what we want. If there is no action then it is fake optimism.
The lies of fake optimism
I am going to be real with you. It does not matter if your glass is half full or half empty. It does not matter how many good vibes you put out, it does not matter how many karma points you have racked up, and it does not matter how good you feel about something. You can feel like a girl is the one for you, but unless you ask her out you will never know. You can feel like the job is a good fit after the interview, but you will not know until you start the job. You can feel like the person is nice, but unless you walk life with them for a while you will not know what kind of person they are.
Feelings are deceptive. They come, they go, they are easily influenced and stubborn, they easily persuaded and can bring you down, feelings are important, but we need to approach them with curiosity. We can feel positive and put out positive vibes, but that is all they are vibes and feelings.
I know I may have rubbed some of you the wrong way in the last paragraph with telling you your half full glass does not matter. Let me take the metaphor a bit further to explain. The glass only sits there whether it is half full or a quarter full and it does not matter until the glass is tipped over and pouring. I will take a glass that is a quarter full but tipped over all day over a glass half full that is up right. Do not get me wrong positive thinking is great and I support it and promote it all the time, but I think we have gotten to the point where we are abusing feeling good. Positive feelings do not create positive efforts unless there is an effort towards action. . When the glass is tipped over and pouring then it is doing something the positivity is interacting and changing lives in some way real positivity is what we are aiming for. Whatever is in the glass it is an expectation and the expectation is not going anywhere as long as the glass stays standing up right and to its self. For me I like to say I do not care for my glass to be half full or empty I want my glass to be overflowing. Then there is no room for fake optimism and feelings to waver. Real positivity is founded in purpose and meaning instead of feeling and inspiration. Real positivity is what comes out of the glass.do not let optimism mislead you. It is much more radical than the common perception. The question is what you are going to do to turn fake optimism into real optimism
When the odds are stacked up what are you going to do?
Are you going to wait or are you going to act?
Optimism takes action because without action it is just a feeling that sounds good.
In the comments let me know of a way I can help you get over a hurdle. I can help fill up your cup