We have negative mental habits that come up over and over again. One of the most significant negative habits we should be aware of is that of constantly allowing our mind to run off into the future. Perhaps we got this from our parents. Carried away by our worries, we’re unable to live fully and happily in the present. Deep down, we believe we can’t really be happy just yet—that we still have a few more boxes to be checked off before we can really enjoy life. We speculate, dream, strategize, and plan for these “conditions of happiness” we want to have in the future; and we continually chase after that future, even while we sleep. We may have fears about the future because we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, and these worries and anxieties keep us from enjoying being here now.
“Even if it were possible to cast my horoscope in this one life, and to make an accurate prediction about my future, it would not be possible to ‘show’ it to me because as soon as I saw it my future would change by definition. This is why Werner Heisenberg‘s adaptation of the Hays Office—the so-called principle of uncertainty whereby the act of measuring something has the effect of altering the measurement—is of such importance. In my case the difference is often made by publicity. For example, and to boast of one of my few virtues, I used to derive pleasure from giving my time to bright young people who showed promise as writers and who asked for my help. Then some profile of me quoted someone who disclosed that I liked to do this. Then it became something widely said of me, whereupon it became almost impossible for me to go on doing it, because I started to receive far more requests than I could respond to, let alone satisfy. Perception modifies reality: when I abandoned the smoking habit of more than three decades I was given a supposedly helpful pill called Wellbutrin. But as soon as I discovered that this was the brand name for an antidepressant, I tossed the bottle away. There may be successful methods for overcoming the blues but for me they cannot include a capsule that says: ‘Fool yourself into happiness, while pretending not to do so.’ I should actually want my mind to be strong enough to circumvent such a trick.”
? Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir
I never considered myself an optimist. I thought I was a realist through and through, always making sure I understood that, for every good thing that happens, something bad must happen. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I was often mistaken for a pessimist not because of my looking for something good to come from bad but from my looking for something bad to come from good. Literally turning my head and waiting for it. Every person I saw was a threat. I had this angry aura about me. Most often kept inside of me festering.
My realism has came in quite handy as a technical writer with vision for scoping and compiling requirements for both logical and physical projects… Specifically in forming use-case-scenarios and quality assurance testing.
I’ve never believed my future would be better than my past, because that was what I learned and was told. As a matter of fact, I never really believed I would have a future or that I wanted one at all. There are some dark ages that see light now, where passively suicidal behavior and risk taking that were a big part of my lifestyle are gone, but for risk. The worst risk is the one not taken.
Time changes attitudes… it heals wounds a little too… at least it has for me. I’m no longer angry person in general… but I can still get angry, however, I prefer kindness and understanding. Anger sucks energy from your soul.
Time that I never thought I would have has turned me into an optimist. I believe in optimism. My present and my future are and will be better than my past. I am completely responsible for this change in thinking with the help of PTSD therapy. There is a small hand full of people… a small circle of family who also have had a role in my healing and change. I could not or would not have accomplished this shift in thought on my own.
My family is my reason for living. My reason for wanting to live and wake up again tomorrow. To change a little more for the better. To enjoy the happiness and love that I feel surrounding me. I have what I feel are compelling reasons to live that escaped me until recently… hugs. Hug therapy. Unintended consequences of wanting to live. I shared a hug last night, promptly fell asleep and awakened the happy man I realized I am and have been.
My name is Marc and I am an optimist. I believe my present is brighter than my past. I believe my future will be brighter because of the people in my present and future.
My life has meaning… It’s good to be alive.
“To Be Hopeful”
in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
? Howard Zinn
You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. [some guy no one heard of named steve jobs]