Friday, January 25, 2013

Learned Optimism

I love the story that is often told about Thomas Edison. After he had conducted a hundred different experiments on an electric light bulb, he was asked if he was discouraged by not having a success. It is reported that he said, "No, I just have discovered a hundred ways not to make it." Now, what an attitude!

That's optimism. There are a few people that are naturally this way. I happen to be married to one. I haven't always appreciated this trait in him. I have wanted to gripe, complain and be just plain negative at times. Fortunately, I catch a lot of things through exposure. After living with the eternal optimist for almost 30 years, a little of it has rubbed off. I call this "learned optimism.”  It's not as natural as some things but over time I have grown in it.

Why is learned optimism so important? It is the best way to beat discouragement. It is really helpful in parenting, especially those with special needs.  The option of discouragement presents itself on a daily basis. To beat this foe, it takes self-discipline to renew the mind with optimism.
I'd love to hear how many of you cultivate an optimistic spirit.