Being an optimist can mean many things. Bert Jacobs in the book “Life is Good” describes optimism as, “A powerful and pragmatic strategy for accomplishing goals and living a meaningful life.” Optimism is broad in the sense that it means to be positive, cheerful, strong-willed, believable, and open-minded. Being an optimist means you are experiencing the world around you with open arms and an eye towards growth and progress. Pessimism is corrosive, realism lacks creativity, and optimism is boundless. Below I list the 2nd and 3rd superpowers to be an optimist:
Superpower #6 Fun: Like I said before, optimism takes courage, and sometimes recharging that optimism demands we seek out our own simple fun.
The great thing about fun is that it doesn’t require much beyond a playful, open mind. But sometimes a ball helps too. My college soccer teammates and I would always pass the ball around on the quad. Sometimes random people, or friends a-like would run through calling for a pass, and we would kick it to them and if they played soccer they would try to control it, but if they like football they would try to catch it. The connection was childlike and somewhat doglike. Kick. Catch. Connect.
Even when our calendars seem jam packed, maintaining a youthful enthusiasm is worth making time for fun, rather than just finding time for fun.
Having Fun at work is not a diversion from productivity. In fact, it’s an essential ingredient to stay loose, open, creative, and solution orientated. Fun makes for easy lifting. Fun is an effective means to attract, unite, and propel people toward achieving common goals.
Everyone has different stresses in life, however, bursts of fun throughout the day help keep your mind and spirit strong.
Superpower #7 Compassion: Compassion is the concern for and willingness to help someone who is suffering. Identifying with another person – including identifying with their pain – is hardwired in us.
How can we care for all the tragedies in a 24/7 news cycle? We can’t. But we can care for the people around us in our circle. Everyone’s resources are different, maybe donating clothes, money, furniture, or most importantly your time is how you give. Everyone's resources are different. Beware the naked man who offers you his shirt. You cannot give, what you don’t have.
Focus on self-care. Tending to our own joy and well-being is crucial. Breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, play, exercise, scheduling down time, are ways to achieve this.
Social support is also important. Spending time with those who bring positive energy and build you up, are very important to help you see the glass as half full. By lifting others up we can lower the shields many of us raise against the outside world as we grow older.
You can cultivate your compassion with that simple phrase, “Just like me…” Just like you, everyone is fighting some battle, big or small. Just like you, others want to be happy and free of suffering.
Lastly, you do not need all the answers to help someone who is hurting. Just be yourself and take time to be with them. Presence can be much more powerful than you think.