Everything is not going to be okay.
But that’s okay.
Everything is not going to turn out fine.
But that’s fine.
Some things are worth freaking out about.
But that fact isn’t worth freaking out about.
Never waste time trying to build an optimistic attitude that’s based on the belief that everything is going to eventually work out.
Life won’t always be fair. Sometimes tragedies will happen. Simetimes hearts will be broken. Sometimes our freedoms will be taken. And while we should certainly do everything in our power to prevent tragedy, heal heartbreak, and defend freedom, it behooves us to remember that we won’t win every battle.
What is the basis, then, for our optimism? Self-determination.
The basis for hope is not blind faith in the benevolence of the universe nor is it an arbitrary belief that goodness is destined to defeat evil independently of how we choose to live. The basis for hope is the rational understanding that we are doomed as a species if we ever approach life as if there is a better alternative to looking for new ways of surviving and thriving regardless of how bad our circumstances might be. The basis for hope is the resolve to be resilient not because we are certain it will work, but because it is the only option that can give us a future.
Some problems won’t work out, but you have to keep working as if some of them will. Some wars won’t be won, but you have to keep fighting as if some of them will. Some people will never change for the better, but you have to keep promoting good ideas as if some of them will.
It’s one thing to be pessimistic about our possibilities. It’s another thing to be passive about our opportunities to fight for those possibilities. Maybe the good side will win. Maybe the bad side will win. Either way, there’s no good reason for why we should let the outcome be decided without giving it our best shot and battling it out until the very end.
Optimism isn’t about whistling while you work. It’s about being determined to do your work even when there are no reasons left to whistle.
Forget about being the most positive person in the room. If being positive feels like it’s too pretentious, set yourself free from this unnecessary burden. You don’t need to have faith —you just need to have a willingness to fight.