Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cultivate Optimism

There's something not right about the way this is written:

Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it. She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.

Because maybe so, but man, you know who really has the ability to manufacture optimism, losers. Why would you have to manufacture optimism when you're winning? You invent light bulbs because it's dark! And I'll tell you something else, light bulbs do not make the sun shine. What you get with a light bulb is... a light. In the dark. And by losers, I mean happy losers. Of course there are sad losers, they're the ones sitting in the dark.

In other words, I contest that success makes you able to manufacture optimism. If anything, success obviates the need to manufacture optimism. I mean, success probably does produce some sense of optimism. Where does that leave you when it's taketh away, though. Dude who's had to deal with the dark has all the light bulbs.

Perhaps I've misunderstood and what's being said is the other way around, optimism makes you able to manufacture success... maybe it does? What I'm saying is, what does success have to do with anything. I thought we were talking about being happy.

Boy I'll tell you, I auditioned to deliver the valedictory address at my high school graduation, oddly enough being that I was the actual valedictorian but never mind that. Also I lost, possibly because in the interview portion I was asked to give my definition of success and I completely insincerely answered that it didn't matter if you were a success as long as you followed your heart, and believe me I have been paying for that answer ever since.

Also I was voted Most Likely To Succeed. Hold on, I have to tape the plastic back up on the window, the wind whistling through the sills keeps ripping it down, brb.

I'm back. I have completely lost track of what optimism is.

Okay, I think there are two kinds of optimism. One kind is an expectation of success that theoretically produces success, the other kind is an expectation of happiness that theoretically produces happiness. Three kinds, if you count the philosophical doctrine that this world is the best possible world. They're related of course but not identical, like the Olsen twins and that other Olsen sister.

I dunno, an expectation of success probably produces success? I think I believe that negative self-fulfilling prophecies are almost always fulfilled, and positive self-fulfilling prophecies are sometimes fulfilled. If they are accompanied by an ability to produce success. I also believe that an expectation of success or even actual success does not at all guarantee happiness. And I believe that an expectation of happiness does not alone guarantee happiness, but does if accompanied by an ability to produce happiness.

So I'm basically saying that the ability to produce happiness produces happiness, because I'm helpful like that. And you can have this happiness with or without success, whenever you want! I mean, yes, the sun shines and makes the grass grow and we eat the grass that makes our brains work and we invent light bulbs, only connect yadda yadda. Let's just say that it's safer to be aware of the sun out of the corner of your eye than to look right at the sun.

I'm not saying that you can't want and work at success. That's a separate series, though. That comes with special glasses and everything.

Which brings us to how you cultivate this ability to produce happiness. I would guess that optimism, or the expectation of happiness, accompanies and perhaps amplifies the ability to produce happiness. Which brings us back to how you cultivate optimism. I really have no idea. I basically am an optimistic person, and pretty happy probably as a result. I don't know how I got this way, and I don't have a huge vested interest in teaching the world to sing so I haven't thought it out, in fact I don't actually have high hopes, ha ha, that I could actually do that. Or not actually, figuratively. That I could actually teach the world to sing, figuratively. I shy away from movements that rely on the world getting together to accomplish anything. Any zombie movie will show you how impossible it is to get even ten people to agree and work together, and at a time when you would think it's really, really important to agree and work together and not shoot the locks off the barn for the love of god. Though this does illustrate how capacious the doctrine that this world is the best possible world indeed is, I think my ability to accept that we're totally doomed in the face of a zombie apocalypse, or for that matter in the face of the zombie apocalypse that's actually happening, global warming, and still feel okay about hanging out with people is a real measure of my optimism.

But I don't have to believe in the world, I mean I believe in the world in that I accept it as it is. I do believe in single people. Individuals, I mean, not the unmarried. Really, that's my secret. Mom always said if you want to be happy, dream small!

She didn't actually say that.

What she actually said was, Remember once you slacken in your work it will forever be in your record.

letter from mom

What, you thought I was kidding?