Monday, March 30

The Optimist - One man's search for the Brighter side of life - Lawrence Shorter

This book looked promising and I had to read it during the summers. The Title was exactly what i was looking for subconsciously. As the title suggest, the book is a straightforward journey into finding what optimism is? If i have to sum it up, it is a big book of great quotes, however I've realised that it there is no path to being optimistic. Initially i thought there will a set of rules, following those would help a person attain the highest level of optimism.

I must say, the pessimist in me has welcomed the new optimistic. I for now am looking at a brighter side of life and some of the things that are mentioned in the book actually are useful which I have started applying in my day to day life.

Below are all the beautiful quotes that I would life to mention here for my future reference. 

Bad news had left me unscathed. I was an optimist, and I was proud of my ability to ignore events and carry on as if everything were fine. That was the privilege of optimism. Deep down if you're an optimist, you know that everything is going to be OK. You don't know why - you just know. It's like your little secret.

First law of optimism : The more optimistic you are, the better life gets.

It was midway by the time I walked out of the house. I didn't know where I was going, but I was ready. I was glad and, for the first time in weeks, I felt full of optimism.
Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation - Anonymous
The pessimist were a terrible and inscrutable enemy. Even though we lived in the most wonderful and fortunate period of human history, there were still people out there addicted to negativity, who made it their task to spread fear and anxiety.

Ashley judd believes that suffering will always exists. She's learned to accept that.

Accepts yourself and accept the negative. God is love, so if we do loving things, be loving , love ourselves and let the love for ourselves emanate out, that will set us on the path to finding the peace and serenity that is possible in this lifetime.

The atmosphere felt monastic and peaceful, far away from the chaos and stupidity of the outside world.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. - William Shakespeare, Hamlet.
Learned Optimism - Martin Seligman
Each of us has our 'explanatory style' a way of thinking about the causes of things that happen in our lives. The basis of optimism does not lie in positive phrases or images of victory, but in the way you think about causes.

Optimism comes down to three things : When something bad happens do you
1) Take it personally
2) Expect it to last forever and
3) let it affect other areas of your life?
If so, then you're a pessimist.

Seligman - We've found that happiness is measurable and that there is a formula for this...
Life satisfaction  = Positive Emotion + Engagement + Meaning.
There are shortcuts to positive emotion, but there are not shortcuts to engagement, The engaged life is when you're totally absorbed in what you're doing and it comes when your highest challenges meet your highest strengths. There's also meaning. Human beings ineluctably want meaning and purpose in life, but this only happens when you use your strengths to serve something bigger than yourself.

Scientific technique for raising human happiness. Three blessings Exercise :- Every night before you go to sleep, write down three things that went well today. It turns out that building gratitude is one of the main ways of developing happiness.
The three blessings is an intervention for increasing positive emotion about the past. Optimism is related to emotion about the future.

when you're a pessimist you give up easily, when you're an optimist you try. Pessimist just have different thoughts about adversity.

Pessimists have habits of thought, which mean that they interpret failure very negatively. These negative thoughts then create feelings of helplessness, which in turn feed depression. Pessimist tend to take bad luck personally. They see bad events as a reflection on themselves. They also tend to assume they're going to last forever and they're going to affect all parts of their life. But if they can learn to question and dispute those thoughts, then they can shift their explanatory style from a pessimistic one to an optimistic one.

Can pessimism be cured?
It's a training. You can teach yourself to recognise the negative thoughts you're saying to yourself before you start believing them. You become an expert disputer of your own beliefs.

Seligman says it's not our problems that makes us depressed. It's our thoughts.

Human beings ineluctably (not able to be) want meaning and purpose in life, but this only happens when you use your strengths to serve something bigger than yourself.

Saligman -Author of Learned Optimism, provides the following tip :-
Stand up and slam the palm of your hand against the wall and shout 'STOP!' This is one of several simple but highly effective thought stopping techniques used by people who are trying to interrupt habitual thought patterns.

Achieving enlightenment is every Buddhist's goal. It means an end to suffering, a state of bliss.
Buddhist don't believe in God. They only believe in supreme consciousness. All entities including the self are an illusion. The only way to avoid suffering is to escape from all human attachments.

For an optimist, it makes no sense to lose hope. We can always do better (instead of being devastated, resigned or disgusted), limit the damage (instead of letting it all go to pot), find an alternate solution (instead of wallowing pitifully in failure), rebuild what has been destroyed (instead of saying 'it's all over!') take the current situation as a starting point (instead of wasting our time crying over the past and lamenting the present), start from scratch (instead of ending there), understand that sustained effort will have to be made in the best apparent direction (instead of being paralysed by indecision and fatalism), and use every present movement to advance, appreciate, act and enjoy inner peace (instead of wasting our time brooding over the past and fearing the future).

In creative visualisation you use your imagination to create a clear image, idea, or feeling of something you wish to manifest. Then you continue to focus on the idea, feeling, or picture regularly, giving it positive energy until it becomes objective reality.
"The question is, when did you stop growing? When did you stop having those Aha! moments? And that's the moment you died. Most pessimist are the walking dead. It doesn't matter that they breath and they get up and eat. They are dead" - Taddy Blecher.
What education means?
The word education came from the Latin 'educare' - to lead out. It meant leading out the genius out of heavy human being, the beauty in everybody.

We live in a field of infinite possibility. We just have infinite possibilities for creating solutions to the problems we have.

Transcendental Meditation is an easily learned, natural mental technique which opens the awareness to the infinite reservoir of energy, creativity and intelligence that lies deep within everyone. Whatever you believe in, whatever system you follow, what matters is that you do it.

Transcend the boundaries of fear.
Somewhere in your heart is a powerful voice which is telling you what you should be doing. If you an break through the boundaries of fear and just listen to that voice, then everything will be beautiful, or listen to the voice, then break the boundaries. It doesn't matter which way around you do it. If you have problems hearing the voice then you can meditate, although this is only necessary if you have a tiny narrow awareness of life and you absolutely need it.

Today Blecher didn't spend hours alone with his computer, sending emails to celebrities and making notes in his diary. He worked with other people, lots of other people. That's where he got his energy from.

Since the beginning of time people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn't ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward.

Most people are at war with reality. They are never at peace because they believe their thoughts and their thoughts do not accept what is and so they suffer.

When I believe my thoughts, I suffer, but when I question my thoughts, I don't suffer.

Stress in your life is caused only by one thing, your reaction to not getting what you want.

My philosophy of life is that everything that happens to you happens for the best. In other words it's impossible for you to make a mistake.
"The terrible has already happened" - Heidegger
Power of acceptance - Forgive them, they don't know what they do.

In trusting there is a power to see clear, a power to be able to see in the future.
The most intelligent thing you can do is to appreciate everything, no matter how bad it is. It won't take long before life will give up. It will adapt to your mind and deliver only good things. - Marbel Mohr.
The universe always acts in your best interest and always brings into your life exactly what you need at any instant...

Everything in life happens to confront you with some deep inner fear. So that you can let go of it. But you can't let go of things before you know them. The process is about facing deepest beliefs and emotions.
"Screw it, let's do it : Lessons in life - Richard Branson"I have found that, if I have fun, the money will come. I often ask myself, is my work fun and does it make me happy? If something stops being fun, I ask why? If  can't fix it, I stop doing it"
When you have goals and positive outlook on life, you have something to aim for.

Richard Branson
What drives me is being in a position to change things, to keep learning and to be in a position to make a difference. Throughout my life I've been trying to get into that position, and now I'm in that position I don't want to waste a minute of it. But I also have an attitude in life that however hard I'm working and however tired I am, make sure I enjoy every single second of my life, and if you just make sure you enjoy every person  you're with and every second of your life, the pleasure you're going to give other people is enormous.

True optimism is about following your heart. It's about visualising things and letting them flow effortlessly into your life.

Fear of pain is so much worse than the pain itself.

Notes to pessimist
Gottfried, wilhelm heibniz (1646 - 1716) :-
Everything is perfect because - mathematically - nothing is this world could be any other way. For similar reasons, anything that can happen will happen.

Buddha :-
Suffering is causes only by believing painful thoughts. Life will keep presenting you with situations until you finally stop believing them. Everything that happens to you, happens because you 'need' it.

Viktor Frnkl (1904 - 97) :-
If you are afraid of something, its much more likely to happen to you. 'Fear brings to pass what one is afraid of'. Suffering is an achievement in its own right.

"The law of attraction" states that like energies attract. Therefore whatever we think about the most we will experience.
"We have found that merely repeating positive statements to yourself does not raise mood or achievements very much, if at all. It is how you cope with negative statements that has an effect. - Martin seligman
If you can break things into bite-sized pieces you can handle anything.

Realism consists of accurately seeing the probabilities of a good or a bad outcome, then accepting this reality. But true options consists of accepting the risks and then doing it anyway.

Dr wong was a chinese psychologist who had developed a radical new approach to optimism.

Tragic Optimism :- Tragic optimism is an attitude, and its defining characteristics is acceptance of reality. To develop tragic optimism you need some kind of spiritual belief, a religion, something bigger than yourself.

Optimism and Pessimism are two related but independent dimensions.

Tragic optimism means admitting that life is tragic but still maintaining the hope that tomorrow will be bigger.
We know that bad things happen most of the time, but also life is worth living. It doesn't matter how bad things get, there's still something worth living for.

"So many people say they can't make a living, can't pay the rent - but I've tried it myself and I think if you're willing to work hard there's plenty of work out there. I'm willing to drive a truck, I'm willing to do laundry, I can go shopping for you and I'll go walk your dog. You can still make a decent living. I'm very optimistic.

If you want to get filthy rich, you might have an impediment (something that makes it difficult to do or complete something, something that interferes with movement or progress) wants to work hard I think the sky's the limit.

"Yesterday I met a man who suffers from insomnia. When he wakes up in the middle of night, sweating, unable to sleep, clogged by worries about his career or his children, he writes them down and puts them in a jar. Then he screws the lid and places the jar on top of the bookshelf, far out of reach. Once a week he allows himself to schedule a meeting with the worry jar. They get half an hour of his time and that's it. At the end of each year he invites his friend around for a party and he burns the jar."
"That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is matter of getting lost - Rebecca solnit"
Craig newmark - founder of craigslist.
What makes me optimistic in a big way - by following through with principles, giving people a break and treating others well, somehow we have created a culture of trust with the community.

Optimism is a lot of things. The most important thing I've learnt is that none of it matters at all. Not even a tiny little bit.

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