Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Am Absolutely Positive…Maybe…I Think?!

I have quite often been accused of being a hopeless romantic and I have no problem admitting this is true. I use the term “romantic” in a much broader sense than just involving relationships. I use it to describe my entire outlook on life. I take pride in looking at life through the proverbial rose-coloured glasses. (Hmm…maybe that explains my favourite colour being pink!) This does not mean I live my life in a dream world although that concept is not entirely bad. It is just that I try to view things in a positive light and child-like amazement.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t accept everything at face value and  I most definitely engage in critical thinking before making up my own mind  about issues and more importantly about the people I meet during my daily journeys. What I try not to do is approach anything with a cynical point of view but I will admit that every once in awhile I will falter and look at things with a slightly cocked right eye. (My left eye droops naturally.) Because of my belief in critical thinking I can also sometimes be described as a sceptic. Scepticism is often confused with cynicism but they not remotely close. Cynicism is much better equated with pessimism while a sceptic will take a neutral point of view.
I am by nature an optimist so I do try to retain a positive attitude. When I say a positive attitude this does not mean I’m going to preach about thinking positive. Norman Vincent Peale was one of the first to spew this type of nonsense in his book “The Power of Positive Thinking” and Rhonda Byrne decided to dumb it down into her book “The Secret”. Both books take a series of anecdotes, homilies and idioms and convert them into false facts. I have seen this same type of false prophesy preached in the countless business seminars I have attended. (Not by choice but they always got me out the office for the day and usually had good lunches.) Everyone leaves the seminars pumped and ready to walk on water but by half way through the next day when the third client in a row rejected your proposal, you are back to where you started two days before. Thinking something positive is going to happen will not make it happen anymore often than otherwise.  Basically this type of passive thinking and/or cheerleading will lead to no better results. That is unless of course you are Dr. Peale, Ms. Byrne or one of those seminar leaders who have achieved huge numbers of positive results in the way of millions of dollars. 
There is no empirical scientific data that relates a positive attitude to positive results. This even applies to medical studies. Recently, several clinical studies have been done with cancer patients and it was determined that tumours in a patient with a positive attitude showed no marked shrinkage due to treatment than those with a more negative attitude. What the studies did show however is that those with better attitudes will live fuller, happier lives while in treatment and beyond.
The true benefit of remaining positive is that you are able to accept your failures and to either move on or attack your problem from another angle. When you fall down, your choices are to either stay down or get back up and once you are up you have the choice to walk away or try again. There is no right choice, sometimes we have to stay down or walk away; sometimes we can return on a better day. The best quote I heard about this is from Michael J. Fox “The difference between acceptance and resignation is that I accept my situation but I’m not resigned to that being the way it always will be.” 
The best thing about being an optimist is that I am able to make the best out of what little I may have or receive. I’m not all that big on making lemonade from life’s lemons but if life sends me limes I’m desperately going to search for some Triple Sec and tequila! Of course, if it is lemons being sent there is always Blue Sapphire Gin!
Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day here in the Magic Kingdom. Oh crap, wrong theme park! ;-)


  1. Ah, Dennis. Optimism is your best trait. It's the thing that makes you claw your way out after you "hit the wall and fall down the hole".

    As for lemons; make Limoncello!

  2. I too rather enjoy my rose colored glasses. Thinking in a positive forward manner has helped me immensely through some tougher times.

    Mmmmmm, Limoncello!