March 3, 2012

A new word for optimism

This morning I watched the following video from Jack Canfield, co-creator of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series and I learned a new phrase: reversed paranoid. According to Mr. Canfield, that's what optimists are - reversed paranoids - for they take seemingly insurmountable obstacles and find a way over or around them.

This idea reminds me of one of the lines from the Optimist Creed, "Promise yourself to talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet."

As a teenager, I would often go to a cafeteria-style restaurant with my parents where most of the patrons were "old." In my young mind, they had to be 70 years old or more for all they talked about was who had died, who was in the hospital, who was being wronged by some member of their family, and why they were so unhappy. I always thought how boring, I hope I don't do this when I get old.

A few years later while in my 20s, I joined an Optimist Club and learned about sharing positive thoughts with others. It was then that I realized those "old" people from the cafeteria were younger than I thought, in some cases by twenty years or more. Then I thought, how sad it was that they didn't know how to change their attitude.

It's true, talking about health, happiness and prosperity makes a difference in how we lead our lives. And sometimes, something as simple as changing your surroundings by joining a club can make all the difference in how you choose to think about yourself and others. Those paranoids at the cafeteria did nothing to reverse their situation. Their negative attitudes wore them down and made them look and feel much older than their real age.

Optimism is a skill that gets better with practice, and one that you can achieve by creating your own positive attitude. Listen to the presentation now and start on your way to reverse your own paranoia. I know that you can do it: be an optimist.

Jack Canfield: Create Your Attitude
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