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Tiny Wisdom: On Choosing Optimism

“I am a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” -Antonio Gramsci

They say that ignorance is bliss, and there’s a really good reason for it. There are a lot of things we learn as we get older that can get us down if we dwell on them.

The world feels a lot safer when you believe in Santa Claus and magic, and haven’t yet learned about the tragedies and injustices that happen every day, all over the world.

It’s a lot easier to feel happy when you believe that everyone has pure intentions, and don’t yet realize that people sometimes hurt other people, knowingly and intentionally.

If you want to, you can easily find tons of reasons to live your life scared and negative. You can use all kinds of logic to justify a bitter, guarded attitude, as if it’s the only way protect yourself from bad things that could happen.

The irony is that this is the worst thing that could happen, because it makes the space inside your head persistently painful–and it doesn’t actually prevent pain or misfortune. It’s a self-made prison that you can only escape by choosing to shift your perspective.

Since tomorrow is always uncertain, you can torture yourself hiding from the bad things that could happen, or you can decide to take responsibility for creating the good. But you can’t do both at the same time.

Today if you’re feeling like the odds are stacked against you, ask yourself: Which would you prefer–to assume that things will go wrong and then find evidence to confirm you’re right, or to believe that good things will happen and then make every effort to create them?

Photo by raichovak

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest book, Tiny Buddha's Worry Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

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