The Youniverse

Being Optimistic is Being Realistic

Being told by others to be realistic has been one of the biggest buzzkills for me personally. Or I should rather say allowing myself to be swayed into being realistic has been one of the biggest buzzkills for me. The word “realistic” is usually thrown about as a way of getting us back down to earth and away from our heady dreams and aspirations. To be realistic means for us to stare at the tangible facts of reality and base our aspirations on them rather than on our intangible dreams. In essence, it is a way of dulling the optimism that comes with dreaming or hoping or just being happy about the future. It usually implies anticipating and protecting ourselves against pain and struggle in the march on the path towards our dreams. Yesterday I had an epiphany though, that to be truly realistic, that is to base our perspectives, goals and dreams on the facts of reality, is actually akin to being optimistic. I intend to show you, my dear reader, that you have every reason to smile today and look forward to tomorrow with joy in your hearts.

Now, let’s talk about the people we get our picture of reality from: the realists. Realists are always harping on about the cold hard facts of reality. Their bible is a conglomeration of statistics about how the world is. However, as I will prove by the end of this post, their views and the statistics they use to provide their views with credibility are actually highly pessimistic and negative in nature. To be realistic in the way we have thought of being realistic, is actually to be highly pessimistic and negatively oriented. It is to stare at the most negative aspects of our lives, in the past and the present, and constantly use them to dictate our behaviour and our aspirations. The true definition of realism has gradually been replaced with the definition of pessimism.

Until today, we took the realists at their word about how the world works and the dangers they said we should protect ourselves against. We went to school, got the secure job, got insurance for everything that may go wrong, took our preventative medication and saved our money for a rainy day in the future. We all assumed that the rainy day would come, that our bodies would become sick if we didn’t give them drugs to protect them from the harsh, germ-filled environment. We assumed that inevitably somebody would crash into our cars someday and that people are out to rob us of our belongings. We listened to the realists on the news and in the government who constantly painted what we thought of as the realistic picture of our world. We grew more and more scared and fewer and fewer of us strayed from the safe path we were told to stay on, for our own sake, of course.

From this day forward that realistic view is dead, to me at least. The evidence in the true, whole picture of reality is overwhelmingly in support of optimism and joy. Where do I begin? Here are some facts about the reality of life that point this reason for optimism out:

  • When travelling, there are more people who reach their destination safely and without incidence everyday than there are who get injured or die on their journey. It doesn’t matter if they are travelling by plane, boat, car, motorcycle, or any other mode of transportation. On an individual level, there are more days where you travel without incidence than there are where you travel with incidence, and this is true for almost everyone on the planet. Good luck hearing that from the travel and auto insurance industries.
  • Everyday there are less people who experience an act of violence against them than there are who experience no violence at all. This means there are less people who experience a robbery, murder, rape or any other abuse than those who don’t. On an individual basis, there are more days where you didn’t experience violence than where you did. Good luck hearing that from the Police board.
  • Everyday there are more people who are healthy than there are sick. If this wasn’t true the world would come to a grinding halt as the majority of people would need to be treated for their sickness. This means there are less people who have Cancer than there are who do. There are less people with AIDS than there are who do. On an individual basis, there are more days where you were healthy than where you weren’t. This is true for the vast majority of us. Good luck hearing that from the medical field.  
  • Everyday there are more people who experience some form of abundance than there are who experience lack of abundance. This one is tricky to see, but the truth is if most people experienced lack in the way we think they do, our population would not be booming. There are more people that must have access to food, water and shelter than there are who don’t. 
  • There are more days where natural disasters don’t happen than there are where they do. Once again, this is blatantly obvious. If they happened all the time our civilization would not be as developed as it is. The world is more likely to harbour life than it is to destroy life. This was true when humans weren’t on the planet and it’s true today.
  • There is a larger portion of nature that is thriving than there is that is dying. If this wasn’t true we simply wouldn’t be here because we wouldn’t be supported on this planet any longer. 
  • On an individual basis, there are more people we meet who are friendly and caring than there are who are mean and hurtful. I think most of us would become hermits and isolate ourselves from the world if everyone was mean the way so many of us make them out to be. Society is held together by the kindness and co-operation of others.
  • For all the parents out there: there are more teenagers who come back home safely at night than there are who don’t. There are also more kids who experiment with drugs who don’t destroy their lives than there are who do. 
  • To sum up these points I will simply say there are more times where things go right than there are where things go wrong. Once again, this is blatantly obvious. The fact we are living on this planet, the fact we are developing as a society, the fact that our bodies continue to operate pretty much flawlessly are all facts that provide evidence for things working out. If you’re reading this right now, more things are going right than there are going wrong. The fact is there are more moments in more people’s lives where things go right than there are where things go wrong.

Now, I know you may be thinking that there are things that go wrong and that I’m being overly optimistic in my views of the world. I’m not denying that there are negative occurrences in our world. However, I am saying that because we are so focused as a society on the relatively few things that are wrong we are blind to the vast evidence of things that are right. I believe we should be upholding and promoting what goes right more than what goes wrong, simply because it is easier to help the portions of society where the people experience more wrong than right when we are in a positive state rather than in a negative state. To put it another way, you cannot make yourself sick enough to help a sick person or poor enough to help a poor person. We must focus on what’s right so that we can help others see what’s right and how to make things right. We must find out why things go right rather than why things go wrong. We must study why healthy people remain healthy rather than why sick people get sick. We must focus on what we want rather than what we don’t want. To use an example, is it any wonder that doctors are some of the most sick people on the planet? They make themselves sick by focusing on sickness all day, everyday rather than focusing on health.

On a reality creation basis, knowing that state of being creates experience, isn’t it important to focus on what’s right so that our state of being creates more of what is right? To put it another way, we cannot perceive what we are not the state of being of. We have been completely blind to the wonders and joys around us because we have been so focused on the miseries. 

So, in summation of all this, I say be realistic. I’m not taking that away from anyone. However, be truly realistic and see the greater evidence of the beauty of the reality around us. See the positive aspects of our lives; there are so many of them if we choose to look at them. There are so many more reasons to feel good than there are to feel bad. Be optimistic because the stats support that optimism. Reality supports that optimism. It just depends on how realistic we want to be.