Writing is a hit or miss proposition. Sometimes I hit and the email reflects that the goal of my column was reached. At those moments, I’ll admit, I feel a sense of satisfaction.
At other times, I clearly miss the mark and the email also reflects it in many ways. I receive email of anger, dissatisfaction, disagreement, disappointment or, even worse, no email at all. Regardless of the column, I rarely file it away not knowing how others feel.
Writing “Positively Speaking” is a true joy. I love hearing from readers and eagerly accept the challenge of trying to help others live happier and more optimistic lives. I’m grateful that this publication allows me to do so.
If I can humbly say so, the last two columns seemed to hit a sweet spot. The first was a column on dealing with disappointment and the other on hope being the anchor of our souls. I’m still receiving positive emails on both.
I believe the positive impact is partly because they were back-to-back. I think, in essence, hope and optimism are our vaccines for disappointment.
We all experience disappointment. It’s an unavoidable part of life. The problem is most people dwell in it. Like a vaccine, hope and optimism can reduce or eliminate the despair of disappointment, but like a vaccine, you must take the action to get the shot.
I received my second dose of the COVID vaccine two weeks ago. My side effects were minimal. I had a sore arm. I was told by a few family members and friends not to get it ... that it would change my DNA by some and by others it was a conspiracy to insert a chip into my body. I listened, did my own research, then got the shot. I learned that cancer patients in my age bracket were three times more likely to die of COVID than others, so it was an easy decision.
But what about becoming more hopeful and optimistic in your life? What are the negative side effects? If you do it, you will occasionally be disappointed ... which you’ll be by nature anyway, but you’ll find yourself more willing to reach for your dreams and accomplish goals and live a happier, more fruitful life.
Whether we realize it or not, everything that we are consuming via media, stories or the world around us, is forming our mindset. Not too long ago, my wife and I were spending a lot of time watching talk news. It was always playing in the background throughout the day, and I noticed I was getting more agitated, and my thoughts were gravitating toward more doom and gloom in this world rather than hopeful thoughts. It occurred to me — the news was forming me away from positivity. So, what did I do? I turned it off. Less news, more positivity. Less polarizing talk radio, more activities that bring me hope.
The question we must all ask ourselves, is what are we being formed into? What are you feeding your mind? What are you consuming? Are we being formed into becoming more cynical, angry and negative? Or are we surrounding ourselves by positive media, positive people and positive stories that are forming us into joyfully optimistic people? Consider taking an audit in your life and discover who or what is forming you toward or away from optimism.
Research positive and optimistic stories of people like you and what they’ve accomplished. Follow optimistic people on social media. Immerse yourself in positive and optimistic news. Look for symbolic stories with positive meaning and outcome. They help guide and inspire you. I suspect that is why Jesus told so many parables. Whenever Jesus told a parable, it was an invitation to imagine things differently. Jesus’ stories formed the listener toward the values of the kingdom, not away. Jesus’ stories formed the listener to think on pure, lovely, gracious, merciful and kind values.
What am I saying? Act. We usually find what we seek. Want a more successful and happier life? Seek a happier and more successful life. Don’t marinate in your disappointment. Do something ... take action to leave it behind.
Take the vaccine of optimism and your life will change for the better.
It’s easy ... it’s self-administered, and the only side effects are happiness and success.