Beyond Optimism

Adversity is a permanent resident in life. It started the very second you gasped your first breath of fresh air and opened your eyes to reality.

Fortune is a capricious card dealer, but it teaches you one important lesson and that is to play the hand you were dealt to the best of your ability with grace and composure.

Expecting your streak of good luck to last forever is delusional, but expecting bad luck to last is blasphemous.

For the platitudes about the darkest hour before the dawn are all true; nay, it’s a universal law on par with the laws of thermodynamics and gravity.

Indeed, when it rains, it pours, but your biggest mistake would be to revert to cynicism and hopelessness. Alas, pessimism has an all too potent ability to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So what if the blows of adversity come after you in quick succession and at an ever-escalating level of shittiness?

I get it, at this point the entire universe seems to be coming after you with a plan to ruin your life, but if you open your eyes to what’s really happening you will see the myriads of opportunity surrounding you.

Some people could come completely undone; utterly destroyed and decimated. The person who is capable of taking all of these challenges with Stoic equanimity is more likely to be able to figure out a way to cope, if not a way out.

Stress and anxiety have a way of triggering our primal fight or flight responses which basically overrides the rational thinking brain and frantically looks for a way out of trouble with no regard to any long-term consequences. Just the way a wounded animal surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves would act.

That’s where being centered and aware of the present moment can be tremendously prodigious. Business literature lauds the leaders who keep level-headedness under pressure. Some attribute it to experience, confidence, or innate character traits.

I believe it is more than simply these things, which could be part of the formula in varying degrees, but what I truly believe to be the integral core component of this ability is being comfortable in one’s own head and at peace with one’s own demons.

It all comes down to self-love.

This is what makes that critical sound in the back of your head seem like a distant memory or a long-gone annoying neighbor.

Love is what fills your own thoughts with self-compassion and pats you on the back telling you that it’s going to be ok no matter what happens. It doesn’t tell you that you have the knowledge, experience, and creativity to figure out a solution out of your trouble or negotiate a way to lessen the damage. It simply tells you that it will keep you going through thick and thin, helping you look forward and around for the answers, hints, clues left by the universe.

Optimism is that sense that things will eventually work themselves out in the best possible outcome if one stops looking down at their feet, paralyzed with hopelessness and fear, and instead stands tall, look forward, and walk on searching the horizon.

Sometimes it’s way too dark to see anything if all you’re doing is looking down trying to figure out where to step in the darkness, while all you needed to do is look up to see the illuminated exit sign on the door right in front of you.

It’s all going to be just fine.

You’re going to pull through this.

You’re ok.

Have faith that the universe, not unlike a loving caring parent, has your best interest at heart. And all the difficulties it throws your way are merely tailored lessons to prepare you for the next level in your life.

The answer is being provided along with the problem. Your job is to look for it and fit the right pieces together. If at first, you don’t see it, look again and give time for your eyes to adjust.

 

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