08 Jan The Wisdom of the Optimistic Person | Inspirational Podcasts
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Now, on to today’s reading, which was edited and adapted from the book Success is For You by Dorothy Quigley, published in 1899.
“HOW can one be cheerful when life is so tragic?” you ask. When life is so serious, and there is so much sadness, how can one be joyful?
Well, if life is tragic to you, perhaps you have made it so. Perhaps you have made no effort to understand yourself, and (unstable as water), you have been swayed by every changing circumstance, every whim, and every impulse, becoming a victim instead of a master of your emotions.
Perhaps unawares you have been so supremely selfish and exacting that you have demanded too much of others and have exhausted their interest, love, and patience. Perhaps you have allowed yourself to be deceived, although you have every power within you to aid you in reading your fellow-beings aright.
Perhaps you have put false values on wealth and social position, and bewailed your lowly station in life with woeful humility, forgetting it is the soul that occupies the place and not the place that commands our reverence, or respect, or admiration.
Perhaps you have forgotten that all of us, like polygons, have several sides, and you have not taken the trouble to see some apparently unkind relative or associate from every point of view.
Many a high-minded, but exacting wife, expects her husband to live up to her theories instead of the highest and best in himself, and she makes no effort to discover the highest and best in him, to help him nourish and show it forth.
Many a husband forms a character-mould for his wife to fit into, without trying to tenderly learn the real nature of his companion. He exacts from her what his preconceived idea of her, his caricature of her, would do and say. Affection can- not thrive under such treatment, and many an exacting husband and wife have thus created their own sorrow.
Perhaps you have been too self-sacrificing. As has been shown, ignoble self-sacrifice is as bad, sometimes worse, than exacting selfishness, because it develops selfishness in others and makes one negative and powerless to hold and attract the most dignified, ennobling, and enduring kind of love.
You may say “How can anyone be cheerful when death is omnipresent?” It requires our strongest, highest effort to face the desolation and loneliness that follow in the track of death. May we not hope that anything so universal as death must be beneficial? May we not trust, as we watch the workings of nature, that death is but another condition of life?
Despite the unspeakable sadness that wrecks our own hearts we, at least, should not grieve selfishly. Many a mourner grieves in a self- pitying way. Passionate grief neither does the dead any good nor the living. It does the latter harm. Death is the Messiah that redeems us from brutal unkindness and all uncharitableness. Without death and little children what would not the world lack in gentleness, loving kindness, and sweetness?
There is sadness, there is misery, but to be sad and miserable only increases the weight of woe in the world. Your wailings do harm. You can lessen the great sum of misery by making yourself such a sunny, serenely poised presence that wherever you move you will radiate brightness, you will diffuse sweetness, strength, and light.
Try to see how the laws of nature work and be an optimist. Be a liberal, tolerant one. The jokester says “A pessimist is one who has met an optimist”. That’s a fine hint not to make your optimism too ill-advised, too belligerent. You will hear the unreflecting say, “The optimist is a fool. The pessimist understands life; gets below the surface of things; hears the ceaseless murmur of woe through all the immemorial years.” Sing back to them: “No, the optimist is the wise person. The pessimist is the fool.”
The pessimist is worse, because they are a moral and mental poisoner. They paralyze energy; judge only by defects (the lowest form of judgment), and have not the mental penetration to understand the workings of nature’s laws. The pessimist looks at Niagara Falls and says “Useless sheet of water, thundering noisily. Lots of people dashed to pieces in the whirlpool below. Water everlastingly flowing,” and adds self-pityingly, “it will be tumbling over these precipices when I’m dead and gone.”
However, the optimist looks at the falls joyfully. They see in it a tremendous object-lesson of nature’s immutable laws. They understands if they work in harmony with these unchangeable laws they will serve us, and proceeds to use Niagara to light a city.
If the optimist is a fool who would be wise? If you are a miserable, despondent, unsuccessful individual, get hold of yourself this instant. First get yourself into the condition for success. If possible have a room of your own into which you can go and preserve the sacred and uninterrupted seclusion that would be granted you, if you were meditating or saying your prayers.
If you cannot have a place, choose an hour at night or early in the morning when you may be sure of being undisturbed. If you are despondent, train your mind to be hopeful. If you have no pleasant experiences in your life to recall, imagine the pleasantest things you would like to have happen to you or you would like to do.
Picture yourself in a commanding attitude, full of courage and brightness. See your face as radiant with cheerfulness as you can imagine it. Look in the glass and catch your expression. Recall these thoughts, quicken the emotions and sensations of hope and courage. Go over and over them with the steady persistency of a student bent upon learning a difficult foreign language.
Soon your brain cells, nerved with new thoughts, energized with an inspiriting inflow of positive thought-force, will work for themselves, and your Will will will you to think in currents of hopeful and courageous thoughts, and you will view life from a newer and higher plane, and see opportunities you never saw before.
Your cheerfulness and courage will add warmth to your manners. You will grow more winning unawares. A gracious manner, full of hospitality and cheerful composure, suggests self-poise, self-respect, and self-command, qualities that we all admire.
Do not despise the forms and rules of polite society. Learn them, master them. “They aid our dealing and conversation, as a railway aids travelling, by getting rid of all avoidable obstructions of the road, and leaving nothing to be conquered but pure space.”
After you have acquired mental and physical poise and have energized your despondent heart with courage and cheerfulness, project clearly and definitely in a mental vision what you wish to accomplish. Go over it, just as you went over the thoughts of hope, courage, and cheerfulness; and persist until your Will wills you to work steadily, forcefully, and courageously.
Permeate, magnetize your room, your office, with emanations of success, of hope, of courage, and concentration. Create a vitalizing atmosphere of success so that whenever you enter your sanctum you will be uplifted and encouraged. Entertain no thoughts of failure, no forebodings of defeat, no distrust in your powers of accomplishment, no matter how frequently and forcefully they attempt to intrude.
Make your atmosphere so tingle with faith, hope, courage and cheer that every one that comes to you will have their confidence in you strengthened, will be cheered and stimulated, and convinced that you are the sort to be trusted with business or professional enterprises. Concentrate with unwavering effort on whatever you do.
Remember, if you go to a hectic workplace with your thoughts in a chaotic state, you will ally yourself with all the chaos and irresolution round about you. If you are a magnet of sufficient power, you attract to yourself thought-forces just as the positive, sympathetic piece of silver drew all the particles of invisible silver to itself from the water.
This is not nonsense. You can notice for yourself that a person who goes to their work with a trained mind, who has methodized sense-memories of business, and who is alert and energetic, is a positive force that attracts stimulating thought “out of the everywhere.” That person proves the truth of the old saying: — “Firmly drive, firmly draw.” They stir vibrations of healthy, hopeful energy, and quicken confidence in everyone they meet. The conditions they thus awaken react upon themselves.
Professional investors quicken the commercial feeling in the minds of others and focus their thoughts on finance. They believe in themselves and make other people believe in them. Their very spirit of adventure is a conquering force. Financiers rarely have divided interests and therefore reap the benefit of their loyalty.
Loyalty is a spiritual quality and even in its least commendable form, it is not without magnetism. A person longing to be an artist, a writer, a scientist, or a musician, goes to the city often with less concentrated attracting force than the one who wishes to succeed in business. Many of these dreamers go through life becoming neither successful trades-people nor artists.
IF you are dissatisfied with what you do, you have less power of attracting successful conditions than if you loved your work. Love is magnetic wherever and however it is expressed. If you dislike your work challenge your-self and find out justly and squarely why you do. Determine whether it is laziness, false pride, or lack of ability on your part that makes it irksome to you.
If your work is so uncompromisingly uncongenial that you are doing yourself physical, mental, and spiritual harm by pursuing it, leave it, for as the French novelist Paul Bourget once said, “There is for every soul an atmosphere of ideas which is appropriate to it, and outside of which it cannot endure for any long time.”
If you are fearless and energetic, you can do the work you like, or a phase of it. I once knew a woman who longed to be an artist and painter, but could not spend the time and money necessary to become one; so she became an artistic photographer. The composition, grouping and posing in her pictures were unusual. In the photographs there was a singular charm not unsuggestive of an ideal creation of an artist and painter.
Get into your right circle. Others have done so with success and you can too, if you are willing to suffer a few deprivations and inconveniences for a time. I once knew a man who wished to be a lawyer but had to slave at newspaper work. One day he decided that he would study law. He very properly tried to arrange his work and time so he could do so, and obtained a night desk upon a daily newspaper.
He thus secured time to attend the law school and to study law during the day. He bravely continued in his dual role of editor and law student until he was admitted to practice, and successfully established himself in his chosen profession.
If it is utterly impossible for you to give up the uncongenial work you are doing, get into harmony with it. Every rebellious thought concerning it depletes your force. As you dissipate your force, you may observe that you become pasty looking, negative and unattractive, pitiable and repellent. Master your work; others have done so, you can too.
DO you not see that it all lies with you whether you succeed or not? The uplifting, helpful, and successful effects of this philosophy have been proven (over and over again) by common-sense folk. Prove it for yourself. Make yourself over. If a dog can be given more brain-power, a human being certainly can.
Heart-power, brain-power, and spirit-power form an invincible trinity to redeem you from despair and failure. As the old saying goes, “Never mind ridicule, never mind defeat. Up again old heart.” Remember, my friend, every obstacle is a stepping-stone to the one who knows the law of nature and of thought.
We are not alone in the struggle. Even the flowers have to make an effort to reach the sun-light. Properly directed effort generates energy. Energy is life, life is the manifestation of the spirit. Give your spirit room to express itself. Use the forces within you intelligently, fearlessly, joyously, triumphantly, persistently, and you will succeed.
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