A Reluctant Optimist’s Code

Is faith optimistic or pessimistic?

I’ve admitted that optimism isn’t my default approach to most situations. Relentless Grace certainly tells of a tug of war between intellectual faith and gut-level despair.

As I said in Tuesday’s post, I naturally default to a feeling that The Half Empty Glass Is Leaking. Jesus’ teaching tells me something different. Many days I’m not sure which end of the rope I’m pulling.

My investigation of optimism, some conglomeration of research and personal experience, leads me to a list of affirmations that might guide me toward a more optimistic outlook.

I’ll share my list today. Tomorrow I’ll try to apply what I’ve learned specifically to life as a follower of Jesus.

Please understand that these are goals, not achievements. Each statement represents the positive end of a continuum on which confirmed pessimists occupy the opposite extreme. I state them (optimistically) in first person with the hope that writing them as affirmations will help me internalize them.

Like any continuum, most folks probably reside somewhere between the extremes. The direction we’re moving matters more than where we are along the line. With those disclaimers, I offer:

A Reluctant Optimist’s Code

Influence: I believe in my ability to influence positive outcomes in any situation.

Context: I view events in a larger, and generally more positive, context.

Life impact: Positive events impact my overall life in a positive way. Negative events are limited to a single aspect of life.

Trends: Positive events are likely to recur as part of a beneficial trend. Negative events are isolated and less likely to become patterns.

Individual worth: Others have innate value and can contribute in positive ways.

Long term/short term: I look more at long-term consequences and outcomes than short-term results.

Judgment: I judge behaviors, not people.

Change: I am responsible for, and capable of, analyzing and developing my own character.

Present: I learn from the past, anticipate the future, and live in the present.

Experience teaches me that even my unnatural, reluctant optimism makes life easier, happier, and more productive. I’m trying to work on the attitudes above.

How about you?

What are your thoughts about optimism in general? Does it come naturally for you?

What aspects of an optimistic attitude would you add to the list?

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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