The Reformed Pessimist

3d ManThink Positive by Archipoch I started writing this on 3/13/13 because it hit me on that day, like a ton of bricks, what life is about, for people like me.

A job will never make it. The only way to make it is to use your talents. All of them. There is no other way. And the shit has to work! It has no choice but to work. You need to believe – fuck that – you need to know that! Know who you are and what you have to contribute. Get your game right and get it popping! That’s the only option. A job can help because we all need money. But ultimately, for people like me, falling into the stat quo won’t make us happy. It doesn’t make most people happy, but some people can live with being unhappy. Some can’t. Too many people think they don’t deserve it. They think happiness is for other people, not themselves. I know. I used to be one of those people.

A few years ago, I was one of the world’s proudest pessimist. I thought it was the best way to be, because it was realistic. But I reached a point where I was tired of the way my life was going. I needed something to change. I wasn’t sure what or how. I just knew the path I was on was leading nowhere. All I did was work, eat, sleep, work, eat, sleep, work, eat, sleep…. I read, The Secret, because I’d heard about it on the Michael Baisden Show. It moved me, but it wasn’t for me. I came away with some great insight from it though. Especially, a quote from Bob Proctor, “Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.” That was the most powerful passage in the book for me. Reading that book also introduced me to the self-help section of the bookstore, and led me to the book that actually did change my life; Steve Chandler’s, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself.

Of course it has lots of great info to get you motivated. But there was just one story in there that literally changed the course of my life. It was about a pessimist and an optimist whom both had their respective garages to clean. The pessimist looks at the overwhelming work and decides it’s entirely too much work, and since it can’t be done immediately, doesn’t do it at all. The optimist looks at her’s and though it’s a lot of work, decides to do a little at a time. By the end of the month the pessimist still has a dirty garage, and the optimist has a clean one.

possible and impossible keys by Stuart MilesPessimists want things perfect the first time. They stop thinking and give up. They don’t allow themselves to see possibilities. Whatever initial negativity is there is what they stick with. They don’t think past it. An optimist sees the negative, but chooses to think past it. Not to ignore it, but to keep an open mind to other ways to handle things.

That one story altered my thought process. It made me see how much I’d cheated myself by being a pessimist. There were so many things I’d stopped doing because I didn’t get them right the first or second time I tried.
I’ve always wanted to draw. I’d dabbled in it, but I wasn’t good the first few times I tried, so I figured I wasn’t supposed to do it. In 2008 I bought a manga comic, just to read, and something told me to try to draw one of the characters. I did. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad. I drew another one, and another one. Over the course of an hour I realized I was good. I mean really good! I couldn’t believe it. Over the next week I started drawing my friends. Bought some books and starting drawing everything! I was so mad at myself. You mean, all of these years all I needed to do was to keep trying? It seems so stupid that it wouldn’t have occurred to me before that if I kept doing something I’d get better. How freaking obvious is that? How many times have I heard, practice makes perfect? It is something I always knew, but I’d reserved it for things that I had to do. Like school work, or my job. I’d never thought to keep trying in regards to something that I just wanted to do, just to do it. I’d been under my own self-induced impression, pretty much my whole life, that if I didn’t get something right the first time then it wasn’t meant for me. I couldn’t think past my initial failure to keep going. Fortunately, writing is something I’ve enjoyed my whole life, so I at least didn’t cheat myself out of that. But there are countless other things that I’ve stopped because I initially failed.

So, I ceased being a pessimist. Optimist used to piss me off. Now, I’m one of them. I’m still not a perky or smiling all the time type of person, but my mind set does wear itself on my face sometimes. I’ve taken responsibility for my happiness. I count my blessings. I’m still learning and growing. I don’t have all of the answers. I have a few, and I’m fine with that. I learn as I go. Always open to learn something new. And always knowing that I don’t know shit and that I’m a work in progress. I’ve learned to accept the perspectives of others, even if they are offensive to me. You’ve got to live and let live. But don’t be afraid to share your perspective. We all have them.

yin yang by digitalartI say all of that to say this—if you’re like me, and you have something in you that’s screaming to be let out. Let it out. Be happy! It’s ok. We weren’t created to be unhappy. We of course have unhappy times. Life is all about good and bad. But don’t for a moment think that you don’t deserve happiness. Change your perspective and change your life.

Understand, however, that when you change your perspective, you are on your own journey. A lot of people won’t understand you. They won’t get it. They’ll think you’re crazy or stupid. They will aim to dissuade you. You can’t change people. You can only explain your side. Either they are receptive, or they aren’t. It’s ok. Live and let live.

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