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Defaulting to Optimism

It's often our default to complain. I had a mentor in college tell me that most students' first response to, “how are you?” involved complaining about the weather, being tired, or being too busy. Sometimes it’s not much different for adults.

I was recently reading a book by Jonathan Pokluda*, where he focused in on entitlement as it relates to our negativity. He said, “if you want a surefire way to know, for the rest of your life, what you feel entitled to, ask yourself: what do I complain about?” If we were to compile a list of what we complain about the most in a given week, we would likely arrive at what we believe we deserve the most. Complaining and entitlement go hand in hand.

But if our default is to complain, what if we could change our default? Let's not accept that which is commonplace and look larger than life itself. Reversing negativity into optimism usually begins with gratitude. I share a lot about gratitude, and that’s done for a reason. I believe that gratitude, even in the midst of our deepest suffering, is what helps us see the most out of life. Gratitude is not about ignoring the bad events or the tragic circumstances, it is about finding the beauty in every day. It gives hope, joy, and appreciation for the daily moments we take for granted.

To change our default to optimism means to change our thoughts: to focus on the best, stand in hope for the future, and express our thanks to God in all we do. When we combine gratitude with a hopeful heart and a believing spirit, the result is the opposite of entitlement: it’s optimism.

*Book Reference: Why Do I Do What I Don’t Want To Do by Jonathan Pokluda

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