9 Feb 2009

Be an optimist

I've just read an article about being an optimist - see it in The Times here - it is about the book just released entitled 'The Optimist: One Man’s Search for the Brighter Side of Life' by Laurence Shorter. Update: click on comments below for comment by author

Photos: Snow pics from last few days all taken in Randwick and Ruscombe

I'm not sure if I'll get the book as I sometimes find such humorous approaches hard to read - or should that be too easy to read? The The Guardian was also not so flattering about it - but the article was a good reminder to question negative habits....

Here are some quotes:

“Don’t label anything as good or bad. That’s why you suffer, that’s what stops you from being optimistic. Accept yourself and everything in you.” Byron Katie, a spiritual teacher from America.

“Think about it! We organise our minds to obsess about things that don’t amount to a hill of beans. You be free now!” Bill Clinton at a crowded fundraiser in Greenwich.

"I start to see a common thread in my encounters. Optimism is not about the future and it’s not about the news: it’s in my power. It’s about how I react to events, the moment they occur. It’s in the mind. The real optimists, the people I admire the most, have a set of beliefs and routines for reacting that keeps them happy and alive." Laurence Shorter.Order books from Stroud Bookshop online here.

2 comments:

Laurence Shorter said...

hi Philip, thanks for picking up on the article. I hope you do get a chance to read the book. In fact, I would say that my approach was not to be funny or to be useful (as the Guardian rightly pointed out), but simply to be honest about my journey into optimism, which was a genuine personal journey - one which left me utterly changed in some ways, and completely the same in others. Which was really the point in the end. What I found (which you might also agree with if you get a chance to read it) was that the most impressive optimists were those who had lived through undeniable difficulties yet still managed to look reality straight in the eyes - which was a really tough lesson for me at the time. And I think is a fairly important message for us all today.

Anyway, I hope you don't mind me adding my ha'pennyworth. It's a strange and exciting experience to see a book which one has worked on for 3 years suddenly being talked about. Something which was once so personal suddenly becomes a public property, so to speak, like a grown up who was once your child. It's a privilege to be able to reply from time to time!

Laurence Shorter (author of The Optimist)

Anonymous said...

It doesn't hurt to be optimistic. You can always cry later.

Lucimar Santos de Lima