Being an optimist can mean many things. Bert Jacobs in the book “Life is Good” describes optimism as, “A powerful and pragmatic strategy for accomplishing goals and living a meaningful life.” Optimism is broad in the sense that it means to be positive, cheerful, strong-willed, believable, and open-minded. Being an optimist means you are experiencing the world around you with open arms and an eye towards growth and progress. Pessimism is corrosive, realism lacks creativity, and optimism is boundless. Below I list the 2nd and 3rd superpowers to be an optimist:
Superpower #8 Creativity:
You can light the way of creativity by feeding your childlike curiosity, daring to explore new ideas, and sharing those ideas collaboratively. The only requirement is an adventurous spirit.
We adults tend to fear the judgment of our peers far more than kids do. Were more sensitive to opinions. Whereas healthy children can scribble out a drawing and flash it proudly, adults tend to self-censor ideas, tapping the delete key all too early and often.
Creativity wants out, so let it go and let it flow.
Your own positive impact multiplies when you're able to sync your creative pursuits with your existing values and passions. For example, a teacher out at Kids Connection Rivercrest had the idea for having a Facebook group where you share your artwork, activity, or goals, etc. with all other teachers at all the centers. Use your passion for taking care of children to get creative with new activities.
By admitting you don’t know the answer, that frees you to ask openly, engage, and listen so we can co-create the answer instead of butting heads or defending our own fraction of a solution.
Connection with those around you, talk and collaborate about a solution, and finally create the solution. A PB and J sandwich is much greater than the sum of its parts.
There is inspiration all around you, especially when you dial your mind in on a subject of love. Not all who wander are lost, this applies to your mind as much as your body. In the end, creativity is like a muscle, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Superpower #9 Authenticity:
We want to stay true to ourselves, feel comfortable in our skin, and express ourselves, naturally. We also want to live consistently in sync with our strongest values. However, I understand it can be a real challenge when external influences pressure us to be someone we’re not. In the end, know who you are, and act like it.
We are all drawn to the real deal. Folks who walk the talk and are comfortable in their own skin are people we like to be around. How can all of us stay grounded in our core beliefs while we all continue to change and evolve?
To deepen self-knowledge and stay true to yourself, it’s invaluable to have people close by who know you well enough to tell you the truth. For example, my brother Blake and I have no problem calling each other out and keeping each other honest. Familiarity and trust make directness – straight talk – easier to give and take. People tend to be more forgiving when they know you’re listening, you’re trying, and your aim is true.
Authenticity that creates deep trust includes exposing vulnerability, acting with humility, and admitting when we drop the ball.
For humans, staying true in the moment is tough for us, and it’s a lifelong quest. Perfection is not achievable on this quest, but improvement always is. On one hand, it takes strong determination to openly acknowledge our flaws and keep striving to improve. On the other hand, trusting your instincts, pure introspection, and always doing what we love can be the ultimate form of expression of our best self.
Superpower #10 Love:
Love can be expressed authentically in words- from a sincere “How are you?” or “How can I help?” all the way to a phrase my mom uses “What the heck were you thinking?” that’s considered tough love, but love nonetheless. However, sometimes love needs no words.
Love is action. Deeds, selfless acts, following through on something. It’s being there when your asked, but also when you're not asked. We are wise to remember that our actions – and often, our mere presence – can speak even louder.
Humans beings are social creatures. We need love to reinforce deep connection to each other. When we receive a good hug, a warm smile, even a heartfelt high five or fist bump from someone we love, the positive result bolts right past our brains and goes straight to the heart. It makes us feel one with humanity. And providing that positive charge to others can be even more rewarding.
Do what you love, love what you do. “Do what you love.” It says “Do” and not “Say” for a reason. Because love is action. Don’t think so much all the time. Relax the mind and do what feels good. Your body is wise. Listen to your body. If your body wants to run, then run! “Love what you do.” This is about pride in one’s actions – in other words, living in such a way that when you look back on your actions, you feel satisfaction. This is about a fulfilling life, a life with a purpose.
The more you share your love, the more you connect with people you love – and the more you connect with the people you love, the richer your life is. This is a recipe tested, and it will never change, so spread love. Don’t keep it in a jar, spread it like peanut butter, because life is good.
Blake Kraussel, Director of Administration and Employee Development