Optimism Requires Courage

Paying attention to political debate can be particularly fascinating when two opponents defend both sides of a single argument.

Hundreds of movies and books explain to us that professional speech writers can find creative ways to sell you, the public, convincing reasons why you should support either side of the narrative.

This is also one of the main reasons why a judge needs to hear both sides before passing judgment. It’s because facts can be presented to support either party’s version of events convincingly and the judge or jury is supposed to discern which side has made a more compelling argument.

Which is exactly what you should consider when you are having a private conversation with yourself in your head.

Sometimes you’re just way too damn hard on yourself. Going over every single reason why you suck, why you’re a lifetime failure, why everything you ever attempted never amounted to anything, and how it’s pointless to keep going against such a track record.

Our brains are tuned to only focus on the bad, and it doesn’t try to keep track of the good stuff. It requires a conscious effort to open up those memory banks and dust off those old records of all the times you’ve overcome an obstacle, all the times you’ve managed to quit a bad habit or a bad relationship, and all the times you created a triumph that surprised your friends even before your enemies.

If you look hard enough, it’s all there, in the back of your head, lost and forgotten. But you have to remember it all because it’s what’s gotten you here.

And this is what really matters now: You’re here.

It’s actually never as bad as you think it is. It’s only natural to get frustrated if things haven’t been working out for you for some time.

That’s OK. It happens to everyone, even those who you might think have the Midas touch. No one talks about their failures because it hurts their ego and reputation, but everyone—you included—will drum up their wins.

So what if you’re taking the long way to your destination? So what if you’ve gotten lost for a while there? And so what if others have made it there before you do? It’s all irrelevant. Just keep your eyes ahead and stay in your lane.

You’re still in the race and the bottom line is that it’s never really over as long as you’re still breathing air and there’s a beating heart in your chest.

You need to start lobbying for yourself. Hire your own damn PR firm and have it spin those long-forgotten memories that make you look awesome. Find a way to tell the story from another angle. Make sound as if you have a lawyer defending you in court against all that BS the negative voice in your head keeps shouting.

The only way to make it shut up is to not give it time to speak. Have your mental lawyer keep talking about all the good stuff you have going for you and all the wins you’ve had in your life.

Reach down for your courage, pick it up and use it to give voice to all the great stuff you know about yourself.

No one’s learned anything from winning. The real lessons are in failure. And don’t you worry about how long it will take you to get to your destination. You just focus on taking this one step, and then the next, and the next.

That’s it. Keep going.

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