For some, good news is more than words on a page or a computer screen, more than images on TV. For those who look at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty, good news is an affirmation of the world in which they live. Say hello to: The Optimist.
While some may scorn the optimist, many others are jealous. With the recent global downturn, some sad folks are even trying to fit themselves into the optimist’s happy clothes.
A handful of readers introduced me to an article recently published in the weekly Boulder City News, in Boulder City, Nevada. The article is on optimism and was written by former Boisean Gary Bermeosolo. Among his many accomplishments, Bermeosolo is a former Ada County Commissioner and Garden City councilman.
After reading the article, I was intrigued. I sent some questions along to Bermeosolo and asked if I could reprint his article on “First, the good news.” He promptly sent back his answers along with permission to re-print the article.
My interview with Bermeosolo follows.
But first, the article.
A while back, I had the opportunity to learn an interesting lesson from a friend. Due to what seemed to be his wife’s “lack of worldly wisdom,” I concluded she was naive. My friend, however, disagreed and informed me she was just overly optimistic. I disagreed with him and an argument ensued which was later resolved by Mr. Webster and his dictionary.
According to Mr. Webster, “naive” is “marked by unaffected simplicity” and “optimism” is “an inclination to anticipate the best possible.”
Well, his wife must be an optimist because she certainly is not simple. However, I also realized, for the first time really, just how fine a line exists between being considered optimistic and naive.
By the way, have you ever noticed how much fun it is to be around an optimistic person? They’re a ball! Happy go lucky – positive – inspiring – vivacious – neat people. You know what’s even more fun than being around them? To be one of them. You begin to see your world differently. It’s like taking off a pair of regular glasses and replacing them with a pair of rose-colored glasses. Your world immediately takes on a whole different meaning. But it’s not easy changing those glasses!
In fact, I would say there are two major challenges to being an optimist – one is getting there or reaching that state of mind, and two is staying there or maintaining that state of mind. Why so challenging? Because we live in a “pessimistic society.”
Again, according to Mr. Webster, “pessimism” is “an inclination to anticipate the worst possible.”
Pessimism is the antonym for optimism – the opposite force so to speak. There are a whole lot more pessimists in our world than there are optimists. They outnumber us folks by a lot – and that’s sad because pessimists tend to be moody, negative, uninspiring, listless, not so neat people. Oh yes – and they tend to consider us “naive.”
Adding to our challenge is the fact that one of the major goals of most pessimists is to keep up with us optimists. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that except in the way they go about it. Instead of joining us at our level, they keep trying to pull us down to their level – and, unfortunately, they’ve got a lot of pull since it seems they outnumber us.
Pessimists seem to share another trait. That of having really low self-esteem. I don’t think I’ve ever met a pessimist who really felt good about who he was. And it seems that they don’t want anyone they associate with to have something they don’t have, and that includes good self-esteem.
Let’s face it; it’s tough to be an optimist in a world filled with pessimists. But here’s some of us who continue to make the grade, and we need to encourage and assist one another in our ongoing “resistance” to those negative “pulling” pessimists who surround us. But more than that, we need to begin to mount a massive offensive. It’s time for us to start reaching down to those around us and pulling them up to us. If we all share in this goal, it will only be a matter of time before we can transcend all the negative that surrounds us. “staying even” will be ascending rather than descending.
Many years ago, Johnny Carson had an old fella on his show who was 101 years old and demonstrated the epitome of optimism. He had just lost his third or fourth wife, and embarked on a goal to drive his RV through 49 of our 50 states. Carson applauded this gentleman and, some time later, had him back on his show. Things had changed some for the old timer in that he had traveled thru a number of the states, but even more dramatic was the introduction of his new wife. She was a youngster – in her late sixties – and she traveled with him from state to state. At one point in the show, Carson cautioned him that he should perhaps be concerned with overdoing it. After all, at his age, too much activity could be dangerous. The old fella thought for a moment, glanced at his new bride and replied “well, if she dies, she dies!”
There are, no doubt, some of you who have, for many years, recognized the power, excitement and thrill of optimism. If so, I encourage you to take the time to pat yourselves on the back. Through your efforts, you’re making my world a better place to live, and I really appreciate you for that.
— Gary Bermeosolo, “Guest View,” Boulder City News, Feb. 12-18, 2009