The Dangers of Being Optimistic
A New Years Resolution for the Unresolved and Wavering
I’m a relatively short person. In the right shoes, I can play off 5’10”, but I maintain a slightly below-average male height of 5’8.3” (and yes, the “.3” is important.) As such, I know what it means to reach for things.
I’m sure that at some point in your life someone said “don’t get your hopes up.” That sentence is always frustrating and disheartening to hear. When did it become so instinctive to extinguish a high hope? Since when were our standards set so low that the fear of failing deters us from trying?
Optimistic to a fault, I’ve had more than one person in my life feel the need to “bring me back down to earth”. I’ll admit, my goals aren’t always realistic and that can be dangerous. Why?
Reason 1: You open yourself up to disappointment.
God forbid this dream doesn’t work out and I end up disappointed. I might even feel like a failure… like I can’t do anything right.
Reason 2: People won’t understand.
What if other people don’t have the same exact dream I do? What if I don’t feel accepted or supported? Maybe it will be easier if I just follow the status quo.
Both of these are completely valid reasons not to try. They also just so happen to be the exact reasons why trying is necessary.
To start a fire you need friction. Disappointment and opposition are both hard requirements for growth. I’d go as far to say that if you’re not experiencing disappointment and opposition then you’re not trying very hard. I believe doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will and real failure is lacking the courage to try.
We all know what it feels like to be discouraged. It’s hard to distinguish the line between determination (firm or unwavering adherence to one’s purpose) and insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results). The illusion of defeat is difficult to overcome, but thinking optimistically doesn’t mean being ignorant towards inevitable hardships. It simply means maintaining hope for a positive outcome. If we accept optimism as a choice, no matter the circumstance, we suddenly regain the control that doubt, fear, and opposition rob from us.
Expect to enjoy every last bit of that unreachable goal, but acknowledge the climb and the potential to fall (more than once) on the way. Is there any other way to learn how to improvise and think on our toes? Isn’t the sweetness of success worth the risk?
Author – Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson is the Creative Strategist at Three Summers. He has over 10 years of professional web and graphic design experience under his belt. You can find him in his creative zone where time and space often cease to exist. Aside from his enthusiasm for both music and coffee; he is a husband, a father, and an avid user of the Oxford comma.