Coach’s Challenge for 5/23/11 “Choosing Optimism”

Good day, team.

This week’s challenge comes directly from a wonderful blog called “Tiny Wisdom,” http://tinybuddha.com/quotes/tiny-wisdom-on-choosing-optimism. Many thanks to my friend, Patty Mitchell, for the introduction. Here’s a recent post from the site, which begins with the following quote:

“I am a pessimist because of intelligence but an optimist because of will.” — Antonio Gramsci

“They say that ignorance is bliss, and there’s a really good reason for it. There are a lot of things we learn as we get older that can get us down if we dwell on them.

“The world feels a lot safer when you believe in Santa Claus and magic, and haven’t yet learned about the tragedies and injustices that happen every day, all over the world.

“It’s a lot easier to feel happy when you believe that everyone has pure intentions and don’t yet realize that people sometimes hurt other people, knowingly and intentionally.

“If you want to, you can easily find tons of reasons to live your life scared and negative. You can use all kinds of logic to justify a bitter, guarded attitude, as if it’s the only way to protect yourself from bad things that could happen.

“The irony is that this is the worst thing that could happen because it makes the space inside your head persistently painful — and it doesn’t actually prevent pain or misfortune. It’s a self-made prison that you can only escape by choosing to shift your perspective.

“Since tomorrow is always uncertain, you can torture yourself hiding from the bad things that could happen, or you can decide to take responsibility for creating the good. But you can’t do both at the same time.

“Today if you’re feeling like the odds are stacked against you, ask yourself, which you would prefer — to assume that things will go wrong and then find evidence to confirm you’re right, or to believe that good things will happen and then make every effort to create them?”

This piece of writing really touched me this weekend. Over the past two weeks, I have struggled to maintain a positive attitude, which is unusual for me. My internal world, although complex in various states of mind and heart, is generally a pretty positive place. I don’t seem to dwell in many dark, scary places. But sometimes a wave comes over me, and my usual buoyancy is interrupted by a feeling of drowning in sorrow, worry or negativity of some sort.

I noticed this past week that I was particularly susceptible to external impressions and the media. Perhaps, I was less able to defend my inner lightness of being with the onslaught of negative news that we are bombarded with daily. When I found myself bursting into tears after finishing the last few pages of a book I’ve been reading about American POWs in Japan during World War II (not a light read by any stretch), I realized that I need to be careful about what kinds of information I consume. We are what we eat, and that’s as true about the kind of cellular food we buy at the grocery store as it is about the kind of intellectual and emotional food we buy on Amazon.

So, this week’s challenge is to take the words from “Tiny Wisdom” to heart. Try having the will to change your attitude about something that’s dragging you down. If you feel resentful or angry, try taking the energy of those feelings and use it for something positive. It’s a good practice to try finding the positive side of situations that appear to be nothing but negative.

To help with my attitude, I’ve decided to become more selective this week about what I take in. Maybe I’ll visit a place of great beauty so that the impressions I take in are more uplifting. Whatever I do, it’s definitely time for a change of heart and mind.

Have a good week!

Kathleen

Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

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