If you had to characterize yourself one way or the other, would you say that you’re an optimist or a pessimist?
There is a lot of territory in between, and there are other qualities that can affect our overall outlook: being realistic, for example.
Although I would generally consider myself an optimist, I aspire to be a “positive realist” (copyright pending). Having a positive attitude should not involve the denial of undesirable truths.
It’s easy to be optimistic when things are going well. On days when the sun is shining and things are going according to plan, it seems like everyone’s an optimist. It’s when things start to go off track that you discover what people’s real outlooks are.
Some people love surprises. The rush that comes with something startling or unexpected can be a welcome and sometimes dramatic alternative to our routine existence.
Others hate them. They might dislike deviating from their carefully crafted schedules. They may feel uncomfortable with anything that alters their perspective or opinions. They may not like the feeling of being startled.
Whether we like surprises depends on what we focus on when we think about surprise. There’s the “surprise party” kind of surprise, which involves both being startled and an unexpected event and people. There’s also the kind of surprise that involves an unexpected realization and the impact of knowledge or information that is significantly different from what we previously thought. Which we focus on makes a big difference to our comfort level.
When I get home from a social gathering, I am often asked a series of very specific questions. What decorations did they have? What was Tina wearing? What kind of cake did they have? My answer is usually, “I dunno…”.
It’s not that I don’t notice things; I just notice different things.
When you leave a place, how much do you remember about it? If someone asked you the color of the wall in your friend’s living room, would you know? Do you notice what people are wearing?
It is important to make some time for reflection in our lives.
If we can make the time to think deeply about what we do, how we interact with others, and what direction our lives are heading, we can make each of these aspects of our lives more meaningful and give ourselves the peace of mind that comes from living intentionally.
It is important to understand not just what is happening in our lives but why it is happening and what the consequences will be. Sometimes it may feel like we’re going through life like a pinball—being bounced around with little control over our direction. Why does it feel this way? Are we not taking charge of our direction? Are we trying to take charge but can’t for some reason? Are our lives really out of control, or does it just seem that way? If we reflect on our direction in life and gain a better understanding of the forces that influence that direction, we will be much more likely to move in the direction that we want and will feel more confident in our path.
When you think about the word “graceful,” what comes to mind? Maybe a dancer like Fred Astaire, or an athlete like Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio’s playing was described as “elegant,” and it was said he “glided” around the outfield with the “grace” of a cat. These are not words that you often find in the sports page, but when people saw DiMaggio play, those were the words that fit.
Where does grace come from? Are people born with it? When you see someone who is clumsy or awkward, do you think they are just like that, or they just aren’t paying attention? For the body, there is two-way communication. Listen to your body and compel your body to listen to you. This comes down to awareness. A simple idea, but one on which few really act.