Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Learned Optimism

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:51 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Hey, I’m working on it!
Yeah, according to this article on BeliefNet, Optimism is a skill-set that can be learned. Which is probably a good thing, considering the way I’ve been thinking lately. Honestly, I used to think of myself as a relatively optimistic person, but that’s not as true as I’d like to think. And, of course, I was judging that based on the incredibly pessimistic company I used to keep. (Yes, I’m talking about my ex-wife.) Compared to the doom and gloom I was surrounded by, I seemed optimistic, but compared to the incredible optimism I’ve been surrounding myself with the past year or two, I’m pretty not-so optimistic. Again, the good news is, I can learn to be different. The article breaks it down into seven steps.

  • Step One: Capture what you say.
  • Step Two: Challenge that voice.
  • Step Three: Generate alternatives.
  • Step Four: Put it in perspective.
  • Step Five: Have faith.
  • Step Six: Reach out to others.
  • Step Seven: Find small things that make you feel hopeful.
  • I’ll let you read the article for yourself to see the details on what they mean by each step, but I think you’ll get the idea. For me, a lot of the pessimistic problem is that I get so convinced that I know the outcome, which is always terrible for me, that I lose hope. I mean, what point is there even trying when I know I’m not going to succeed? Right. And, of course, therein lies the rub. I don’t know how it’s all going to work out. Only God knows that and I’m certainly not God. So, my “job” is to do the next right thing and let go of the results. I cannot predict outcomes and doing the right thing, whatever that is at the moment, shouldn’t be contingent on outcomes anyway. All I can do is what is right in my personal moral code and hope that, if I do enough of the right things, the results will be positive. Yes, it requires a little faith, both in God and myself, but I can learn that, too.

    So, when I hear that negative, internal voice, I need to “hear” that voice, but counter it with positive arguments. I need to remember that whatever I’m getting worked up about is probably either not as important or not as bad as I make it out to be. I need to trust that God will see me through, as He has on so many occasions. I need to connect with my more positive friends, who will reinforce my still growing optimistic voice. And, I need to find a little hope in little things until I get past the big stuff that keeps me down. Then, when I’ve done all I can, I just need to let it go and move on to the next thing, whatever that is. If I do all that, slowly, I’ll turn my cynical pessimism around and be the optimist that I used to think I was.

    Advice from your Uncle Jim:
    "It is never too late to be what you might have been."
       --George Elliot

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