Saturday, January 24, 2009
Optimism: Ignoring the Naysayers
One of my earliest memories of being inspired towards optimism was from the TV version of Damn Yankees (1967). This Broadway Musical was based on a book that was loosely based on the old Faust legend.
One of the songs in the movie was called Heart. One stanza in the song is repeated several times:
You've gotta have heart
All you really need is heart
When the odds are sayin' you'll never win
That's when the grin should start…
In my mind, the line I recollected was,
When the crowds are saying, “You’ll never win!”
That’s when the grin should start.
Optimism, for me, began with ignoring the naysayers: both the odds and the crowds. There are many voices that seek to persuade us, “You’ll never win.” Or “You’ll never be a winner.”
In many circles, negativity rules. I make it my aim to stay out of those circles. In fact, I’ve learned to fight the urge to self-destruct from negative self-talk. The Naysayer within is perhaps one of my greatest foes.
What’s a person to do?
The song gives us a strategy: grin!
In the face of negativity I mimic The Little Engine The Could. The mantra of success is perhaps, “I think I can… I think I can…”
If you don’t think you can: you won’t. If you think you can: you just might.
So ignore the naysayers. Contemplate the possibilities and grin.
There’s an old hymn that says, “Faith, Mighty Faith, the promise takes and looks to God alone; laughs at impossibility and shouts, It shall be done!”
Ray Bradbury echoes the same theme in Something Wicked This Way Comes: evil can be conquered by laughter.
I was “programmed” at an early age to be optimistic by a “silly” song. Against the odds, against popular opinion, I just might prevail! That’s optimism.
(What songs fuel your optimism? What songs promote your negativity? Which songs will you let program you?)