Yesterday, I had the good fortune to speak to the Bloomfield Hills Optimist Club about my new book and about the work that I do. Now, by definition, an Optimist Club must contain optimistic, happy folks, right?
Well, I was warmed by the amount of good will and kindness in that room. It was such a fun speaking opportunity – I felt like I couldn’t mess up, even if I did, because the people in the room were staking their entire beings on seeing the best in others.
What would it be like if our world adopted the Optimist Creed? Check it out:
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
At the end of the meeting, they all stand and recite this creed together. This is a group of individuals who choose to start their day meeting with like-minded individuals and focus on the good in the world. They pour their efforts and their hearts into making the world a better place.
I am just so heartened that groups like this exist. In a world run amok with indifference and despondence, criticism and complaint, I love that more than 2,900 Optimist Clubs exist around the world, conducting 65,000 service projects that serve more than 6 million youth every year.
Yesterday, when I picked up my children at their father’s parents’ house, I saw many of my former in-laws that I hadn’t seen since the divorce. The interaction was warm, full of smiles. I offered hearty congratulations to the nephew recently engaged, inquired about someone’s wavering health and mentioned that we’d been praying for healthy outcomes.
I started yesterday with an upbeat perspective and an intention of making meaningful connections that benefit everyone in reach. I ended yesterday with an upbeat interaction involving former family members, which could have been awkward and uncomfortable, but instead focused on the good we always saw in each other, despite troubling circumstances that ended a marriage.
I wish every day could begin and end like that.
The people you surround yourself with – as well as the ways you spend your time (the music you choose, the books you read, the TV shows you watch (or don’t watch) and so much more) – that determines the kind of life you lead. Optimistic? Draining?
Only you can decide.