Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week's message finds you well and encouraged. This week we consider not taking the path of least resistance.
Remember as a young child, adventuring into the woods?
I remember exploring nature on the unbeaten path and carving out new trails. Just like exploring nature, the path of least resistance is rarely the best path, the road most traveled is rarely the road best traveled when we’re looking to add to our life experience. Why add to our life experience? To allow ourselves the opportunity to grow and discover more of our capabilities, for ourselves and for others.
Simon Sinek shares in his book "Start With Why", "Leaders think differently, believe differently and challenge the status quo." Are history's game changers found in the herd?
No doubt the status quo is the majority... and the majority complain, predict the worse and believe pessimism is realism. The herd is often quick to criticize the optimist, often calling them Polly Anna. My mom shared with me that when she was a young girl, Polly Anna was a character in a very popular series of stories (TV series and movies as well) that people aspired to. Polly Anna was filled with optimism and had developed the skill of looking to the bright side, finding the silver lining - and in so doing, becoming more a part of the solution than the problem exacerbated by the pessimist.
Is it any surprise that over time the pessimists have leveraged Polly Anna as something negative, a way to criticize the optimist?! Could we return to feeling pride around our ability to be a Polly Anna?
Of course we need a healthy dose of realism, but how much of that is tainted by pessimism?
Is anyone going to tell me that the feeling of love isn't real when I know how it lifts my spirit and propels me to serve?! The service is real - does that not make love real? Or is love about being Polly Anna too? The way of the herd is the way to destruction.
Aspire to be independent of the pessimist’s opinion. Optimism calls people to the road less traveled and yes, it is that road that requires more courage and tenacity. Do you see the glass half full or half empty? For surely every day that glass sits before you. Know that it is your choice on where you place your focus.
"We don't see thinks as they are, we see things as we are." - Anais Nin.
If you don't like what you see, check to see if you’re on the best path to bring the best in yourself. How has your gratitude list helped you your focus? The harder it is to be grateful, the more important the discipline of adding to a daily gratitude list.
I'll close this week’s WTW with this excerpt from Brian Johnson of PhilosophersNotes:
"In her great book The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky describes our negative thoughts as “barrier thoughts”
"Essentially, all optimism strategies involve the exercise of construing the world with a more positive and charitable perspective, and many entail considering the silver lining in the cloud, identifying the door that opens as a result of one that has closed. It takes hard work and a great deal of practice to accomplish effectively, but if you can persist at these strategies until they become habitual, the benefits could be immense. Some optimists may be born that way, but scores of optimists are made with practice.”
Make it a great week,