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The Secret to Being an Eternal Optimist

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Anyone who knows me in real life, or even who is connected with me on social media, will tell you that I am somewhat of an eternal optimist [for better or worse].

I choose to live my life looking at the silver lining. Searching for the ‘frosting’ on the cake. Looking at the bigger picture.

On many occasions, people have asked me how I stay so positive all the time.

The truth, the real truth – is that…I don’t.

The general assumption is that since I can look at the positive side of any situation, I must somehow be avoiding reality. Perhaps I am too naive or too inexperienced or too used to wearing rose-colored glasses to understand the truth. Perhaps I am so blinded by what I want to see that I will not or can not see the ‘real world.’

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The truth, the real truth – is that…I have experienced the bad along with the good. I have had my heart broken into a million pieces. I have questioned how I was going to get up the next day. I have coped with my problems in destructive ways. I have wondered if I had the emotional capacity to push forward. I have stared into an empty glass of whisky and wondered what I did wrong. And financially – I have wondered how I was going to put enough gas in my car to get home.

I have needed to choose between just laying down, or standing up and fighting. I have needed to look at the big picture and realize that the life I want is not going to appear in front of me. Happiness…is not just going to appear in front of me.

choose this reality for myself on a daily basis. Perhaps I look around at the world and notice that most people are miserable. Most people are upset. Most people hate their jobs. Their commutes. Their cars and their clothes.

Have you ever sat in traffic and really looked around? I mean really, truly, looked at people? It is depressing, and it is bleak.

So many people are beaten down and discouraged and hopeless and, just, sad. They have broken dreams and broken hopes and broken lives. They live their routine and anything outside of this reality is a fantasy land. Anyone who is truly happy must not be living in the same world as they are – because that…just…doesn’t exist. Does it?

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So why, then, can some people really honestly be happy? How is it possible that I stay positive as often as I do? There is one simple word that sums up one’s ability to be as much of an eternal optimist as is realistic…

Perspective.

Perspective, the ability to discern what is a ‘big deal’ and what isn’t. The ability to pick your battles, so to speak. The ability to see things how they are on a larger scale, and not how they appear to be in a small bubble. The reality of the earth and the universe and the man-made conflicts our species creates for itself daily…and, then, the ability to recognize these issues for what they are (or aren’t).

Perspective is the reason why I don’t get stressed out and become snappy towards the people I love. It is why I can separate the stressful parts of my day from the enjoyable parts. It is the reason why I can unwind after work, go to dinner, and forget about the tensions of the day without letting them infiltrate my down time.

Keeping things in perspective and understanding that we drive home in a car much of the world will never own, to a home much of the world will never live in, and eat food much of the world will never taste – is a great first step to complaining less, and living more.

To stop noticing all of the things we lack and start appreciating all of the things that we have.

To stop wasting time hating the people who hate us, and spending more time loving the people who love us.

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To stop looking for problems and start searching for solutions…together.

To live, to love, to experience the journey. To turn up the volume on that song you love during your morning commute, because nobody said you are required to be miserable on your way to work.

To belt that song out so loudly your windows explode. To smile to the sulking person next to you. To say hello to the person passing by you in the grocery store. To paying for someone’s coffee when they’re behind you in line.

Nobody ever said you are required to be miserable.

The secret to being an eternal optimist is simple – you choose it for yourself.

You will become depressed, you will be sad, you will face challenges in life – but you will know each and every time that you will come out stronger on the other side. If this is you, congratulations – you can pick up your ‘Optimism’ membership card at the door.

You can be happy – eventually – regardless of what you are going through. Life will test you and challenge you, but it will never beat you.

Always remember..tough times don’t last, but tough people do.

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15 Comments

  1. Suzanne Belmont on December 7, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Very interesting because this article is
    exactly how I live my life!
    One day upon entering the office, a
    co- worker asked me “why are you always happy?” I had no answer for him and was perplexed that this was the way I am perceived.
    Now, thanks to you, I found my answer!

  2. TonyT on December 8, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you Sama for such a great article. This is exactly how I view life. Love, love, love it. I am so grateful knowing that God has provided and is still providing so much for me. I hope that during this Christmas season, the Lord’s birth, we will be so thankful for what we have and don’t dwell on what we do not have.

    • Deborah on December 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      You are absolutely right, without God and everything Jesus has done for us, we are truly blessed!

      • Mickey on December 8, 2015 at 11:03 pm

        Amen to that.



    • Mickey on December 8, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      Amen.

  3. Susan on December 8, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks James, You’ve just made my day!😊👍

  4. Deborah on December 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I love reading your articles and I love the pictures you attach to visibly show how you want your articles to come across to your readers. Perfect. I have always wonder why people don’t look at life in a better light? I just can’t be in a bad mood for a very long time… it is to depressing and I have to make my way out of it as soon as possible. I hate that feeling as I have had many struggles in life with family, friends, and not so fun experiences either. I think you have a responsibility to be happy even when you don’t feel like it, if not for yourself, but for those around you. A funny thing happens when you make others happy, the happiness you give will come back to you!

  5. Vlasta on December 9, 2015 at 4:10 am

    Thanks James for your optimistic words! This is how we all have to think and do! Be blessed!

  6. Debbie on December 9, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Absolutely fantastic! Resilience, endurance , humility and being grateful are amazing qualities to cultivate. I refuse to associate or be a Debbie Downer. Thank you James! Have a fab day!

  7. Alex on December 9, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Hello James .Yes I do try my best. However as much as I try to have gratitude, I’m not always as happy as I feel as if I should be. Is it a process?

  8. Mary Lisa T. Batts on December 16, 2015 at 6:41 am

    James Muchael; you hit this one out if the park! I happen to be the child of both …360 degree perspective parents who has strived to transfer those same gifts to my children! When you live in a world of what I consider most folks to be 15 “Percenters”; you catch on quite quickly that reality is most definitely not perception of others….it all depends on what their vantage point is at each moment! Awesome work! Simply Divine in my book!

  9. The Secret to Being an Eternal Optimist - on December 30, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    […] Originally appeared on James M Sama’s blog […]

  10. jenberroya on January 1, 2016 at 3:54 am

    “Always remember..tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” , nice article very inspiring. =)

  11. Diana on January 3, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Hello James,thank you for the article, I’m going to show it to all my friends. I know they will pick a leaf

  12. Joe Mara on January 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    I agree James with most of the points.
    The recipe for being an optimist is not having everything around us working as we expect it to be, but it is always choosing the positive side of things.
    Even in worst situations, there is still a good side. If we aren’t able to see it, then we haven’t reached that level of intelligence or experience to see it. I always say; the only choice we have as humans is to choose how we look at and see things.
    We are born in places, in families and with a certain gender we haven’t even decided. We often face situations that we haven’t chosen to face, either due to circumstances or mistakes. These situations happen to all people all the time. We cannot avoid them, as they are based on interaction with people and environment, and on preset factors we didn’t choose.
    But in all this, there is a choice that no one can take it from us, this choice is to choose how we look at things, positively or negatively.
    In order to be positive in bad situations, it might initially require some sort of naivety or artificial naivety, but when we get used to that and we control the situations, we don’t even need that, we always decide to choose the positive side, because it reflects itself upon us positively.
    It is the third law of motion of Newton, and it’s the law of Karma, what we push, what we send, is what we receive back.
    Being positive reflects itself on our surrounding positively and therefore positive people have many more friends than negative people, there life is far more interesting and they receive far more positive and supporting feedback from the surrounding compared to negative oriented people.
    Our own attitude is the only real choice we have. It is really important to choose what is beneficial for us and not drop into despair. Our life is the most expensive things we’ve got, we shouldn’t spoil it by choosing negativity as way of life.
    Thanks James for the lovely article.

    http://www.alloma.ca
    We share, because we care.

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