I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference and importance of both skepticism and optimism.
For example, whenever I ask someone if they’re a pessimist or optimist, the latter will always embrace the label. But the former will almost always reply with, “I’m a realist,” or “I’m a skeptic.” They do this, I guess, because pessimism has a negative connotation.
Although I wholeheartedly consider myself an optimist, I fully embrace skepticism, however, when it comes to educating myself, asking questions, reporting the news, or examining a complex or controversial topic.
In other words, “consider the source.” Don’t just accept something you hear as fact. Challenge it. Probe it. Make sure it holds water before believing it. Ensure the person delivering the news is in an objective position to give it. If not, be skeptical.
In that regard, we can all be realists and skeptics when it comes to seeking the truth. And similarly, we can all be hopeful optimists when it comes creating and striving for a winning future.
20th Century Fox
I had a bad day last week. Or so I thought.
After an afternoon full of rejection, major story revisions, and haters hatin’ on my efforts,* I turned to my wife and said, “I had a crappy day at work and am glad it’s over.”
“I’m sorry,” she acknowledged. “Was it all bad?”
In truth it wasn’t. I had a great morning, a nice lunch, and the first hour of the afternoon was smooth sailing, I conceded.
She replied, “A friend and I were talking yesterday, and we decided that there’s usually no such thing as bad days, only bad hours.”
I quickly recalled all the “bad days” from recent memory and realized none of them were that entirely. While I’m sure I’ve had extended periods of bad hours, I don’t believe I’ve ever had a bad day from start to finish.
That’s probably the optimist in me speaking. But country songs are mostly fiction. Very few people (if any) people get divorced, fired, miss all their meals, and lose their dog in a single day.
In other words, “bad days” don’t exist, only bad hours.
* The kind that don’t know how to say “No, thank you” when presented with an opportunity and instead deride, heckle, or discourage you from finding a more suitable dance partner
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pretty cynical about the great economic apocalypse of 2009 and our federal government’s questionable ways of dealing with it. Armed with a degree in business, I like to think I have all the economic answers, but I don’t.
Though I strongly disagree with frivolous spending, especially the kind that doesn’t create actual jobs, I’m not blind to the fact that it’s been going on for centuries. Hopefully good legislation will prevail again, and the people in power will make smart decisions and adjustments to support entrepreneurs.
So rather than complain and point fingers, I hope to contribute, starting with a sensible and positive outlook. Viva, la revoluciÃ³n!