Do you consider yourself an optimist?

I like to think I am. But I have to admit, there are times when my “negative nay nay” rears her ugly head. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “With my luck . . .” followed by some negative outcome of a future event?

Yeah, me too.

Steve and I stumbled on a little game we play that has actually helped us search for the positive. We say, “Aren’t we lucky?” whenever an unexpected stroke of good fortune presents itself, such as finding an empty parking space close to the door.

I say stumbled because we were actually being sarcastic in the beginning. While it started out as a joke, we now find ourselves saying this even when things turn out differently than we had hoped. Most situations aren’t so bad when you take a different perspective and look for the positive.

Why should we care about this? Having an optimistic outlook can prevent depression, boost your immune system, and optimize overall heath, both mentally and physically.

It helps to have positive role models. I have three heroes I look to whenever I need a boost of positivity.

  1. Norman Vincent Peale – Having suffered with a severe inferiority complex as a boy, Mr. Peale developed his concept of positive thinking to help himself cope. He went on to author one of my favorite books of all time, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” His simple yet dynamic approach to handling the daily challenges of life are truly inspirational.
  2. Victor Frankl – A famous Austrian psychiatrist, Mr. Frankl was imprisoned in four different concentration camps during World War II. He survived the Holocaust and used that experience to realize the purpose of life. In his best-selling book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” he chronicled his ordeal, noting that those who held on to a hopeful vision of their future were most likely to survive their horrendous suffering.
  3. My Grandmother – Elsie Dunn, my maternal grandmother, never wrote a book and certainly wasn’t famous. She also didn’t have a cushy life. When her husband, my grandfather, died suddenly, leaving her with 4 young children, she simply got on with her life the best way she knew how. She became a teacher to support her family. I never heard her complain about her circumstances. She simply accepted her lot and through tenacity and perseverance created a great life for herself.

True optimism is based on believing the overall good in the world far outweighs the bad. And that behind every difficulty, something positive will be gained . . . eventually. The optimist would say, “This situation is awful, but what can I learn from it?”

What does optimism have to do with living An Island Perspective? Everything! The basic framework of An Island Perspective lifestyle is based on appreciating and savoring what is good and right in your life.

October happens to be “Positive Attitude Month.” What better time to polish our skills. We can start by practicing a new perspective the next time you perceive something as “bad.”

Lower stress levels, increased longevity . . . what have we got to lose? The next time your mind tries to piece together some sort of complex conspiracy theory for why the world is working against you, laugh out loud. Then say, “Aren’t I lucky?”