I spent the past week or so working to understand Optimism more thoroughly and to implement it more frequently in my life. Optimism is the first of these values to have some negative opinions about it, and I enjoyed learning about them. After spending time meditating on it each day, I concluded that it boils down to, as things often do, the way one views what being optimistic really means. I spent time trying to increase the frequency of my smiling because, as discussed later, this is scientifically proven to have benefits to one’s mental well-being. I also worked on breaking down situations I was in that were less than ideal and systematically identifying all positives, no matter how small, and focusing on them. In this post, I explore what it means to be optimistic and how when done correctly can be extremely beneficial for a variety of reasons.

Formal Definition

1: a doctrine that this world is the best possible world
2: an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome


borrowed from French optimisme, from Latin optimum “the best, OPTIMUM” + French -isme -ISM

optimus (positive bonus) first/second declension
best; very good
Hic mundus perfectissimus est etiam mundorum possibilium omnium optimus
• This most perfect world is even the best of all possible worlds (Immanuel Kant, echoing Leibniz).
From root op in ops.

From Proto-Indo-European *h₃ep-(i)-‎, *h₃op-(i)- (“force, ability”), from *h₃ep- base, whence also Sanskrit अप्नस् (ápnas, “property, possession”) and possibly Ancient Greek ὄμπνη (“food”). Related to omnis, opīmus and opus.

Ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root *h₃ep-‎.
ὄμπνη (neut.) (genitive ὄμπνης)

to work, toil, make
ability, force

Personal Definition

Many people associate optimism with the belief that everything is fine and dandy while denying to acknowledge anything negative or bad in the world. I believe it has much more depth than that. Optimism is not blindly focusing on the good things in life but rather seeing everything and making the conscious choice to search for and focus on the positives and silver linings in all situations. Being optimistic involves a certain amount of fluidity in one’s perspective of events. Allowing for the ability to see things in different ways in an effort to let the possibly less apparent positive results of an event drive and elevate you rather than the negatives pull you down. This certainly does not mean that one completely ignores the negative aspects of situations. Instead, one can choose to take the vantage point that allows them to process events in such a way that the negatives are acknowledged but never overwhelm and greatly influence them.

Optimism: The ability to process each moment by consciously focusing on the aspects that mentally build you up while acknowledging the negatives but never giving them the power to propagate.


“True hopefulness and optimism is what leads one to dare. It is also what lifts one back up to dare again after a failed attempt.”

-Bibi Bourelly

“It’s not that optimism solves all of life’s problems; it is just that it can sometimes make the difference between coping and collapsing.”

-Lucy MacDonald


I chose to represent Optimism by making four eyes positioned in different spots to show the multiple ways one can look at any situation. While each vantage point will yield a different interpretation of the moment, each one will have some good / silver lining that can be locked onto. That is why there is a heart, representing the good, in view of every eye.



Each moment, time is taken
Searching through each vantage
Until the perspective is awaken
That gives the best advantage

I look, I focus, I analyze,
Concluding where to put my eyes;
I shift, I target, I neutralize,
Acknowledge, then sever ties;
I scan, I pivot, I propagate,
The positivity from my chosen state;

Each moment, time is taken
Searching through each vantage
Until the perspective is awaken
That gives the best advantage


The painting seen above is my attempt to visually represent my interpretation of Optimism. It shows a human scanning through his situation and identifying the positive element among the many negative ones. While the positive aspect is where the attention is focused, the negative elements are not simply ignored but rather are seen and addressed while not letting them propagate out of control. The act of focusing on the positive aspects of his environment allows for the expansion and exemplification of this positivity which completely shapes his environment and outlook.

Questions and Answers

Why is this a value you want to instill in your life?

I am a believer that we have more power over our attitude than we give ourselves credit for. In each moment of our lives we have the ability to perform a mental reset and look at the situation we are in and our environment in a new light. That being said, being optimistic and focusing on the good in each situation is often an excellent attitude to choose. I believe that it leads to a better mental well-being and an overall happier life experience. Therefore, the practice of optimism is absolutely one I want to develop and be prevalent in my life.

What activities bring out this value?

Reframing our perspective to highlight the positive results of any situation is the essence of optimism. Activities involving this happen any time one spends the time and effort to analyze situations and find the sometimes elusive positives. Another way to be optimistic is to simply smile more often. Smiling is scientifically proven to trigger a response in the brain releasing tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress. This helps identifying and focusing on the upsides of each moment significantly more easily.

How would the world be different if more people identified more with this ideal?

If people were more consistently optimistic throughout their lives, the world would be filled with mentally stronger individuals. These individuals would spend less time absorbed in negative spirals that dig them into holes that are difficult to get out from. Instead, each moment that could potentially lead to these spirals and each moment that allows them to continue and propagate would be an opportunity to reset and focus on the good. This would lead to significantly more individuals on a positive trajectory and therefore in a more positive mood. Resulting in a much more friendly and happy world to live in. 

What image comes to mind when visualizing this ideal?

When I visualize optimism I imagine all bright colors having a certain radiance while neutral colors are muted and outshined by the aforementioned radiance. I also envision pulling out of situations and seeing the scenario from different vantages. For example, I see a room involving a scenario, pulling out of my body, and viewing it from a variety of angles to better analyze and understand the situation.

How can people who want to do this first take steps to include it in their daily routine more?

A great way to start becoming more optimistic is to think back on your day each night and choose an event that might not have gone exactly how you wanted. Then write down every good thing that came from it no matter how small. Spending the time to do this each day will translate into doing it in the moment and eventually will be your first reaction to events. As you become more accustomed to focusing on the good in these less than good times, it becomes your new default and will propagate to all moments of your life leading to a happier and more mentally strong existence.

If you have any other questions you think would aid in the understanding and development of future ideals, please leave a comment below!


The following playlist is the beginning of my collection of songs that I believe embody Optimism:

If you have any other songs you think would fit in the playlist, please leave a comment down below letting me know!

Next Value: Knowledge

I am going to be continuing my journey with a little bit of Knowledge. There is a common saying that knowledge is power, that makes it seem quite enticing (if power is what you’re into I guess). Regardless, I believe knowledge and the love of learning are extremely important to a well rounded individual. Of course, equally vital is the ability to pursue the root of the knowledge and compare multiple viewpoints of the same subjects to come to informed decision. I am extremely fluid in what I believe to be true and work to constant update my world paradigm as I gain and process more information and life experience. The pursuit of knowledge is one that never ends and I plan to continue my journey of learning indefinitely.

Make Today Your Best Day Yet!

“Life is a series of fresh starts, the frequency of use is up to the individual”

~Zak Keller aka amusingmonk~

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