Buddhist teacher and spiritual writer Sylvia Boorstein calls herself a recovering worrier since she still tells herself stories, which leads to fear, anger, disappointment, expectations, or catastrophe. The big difference is that she no longer listens to this worry machine. That gives her more time and energy to do positive things that are beneficial to others. In this uplifting work, bestselling author Alan Loy McGinnis heralds the firepower of optimism as a path to meaning and fulfillment. He lists Twelve Characteristics of Tough Minded Optimists and then explores them in the rest of the book.
One of the characteristics is "Heightening their powers of appreciation." McGinnis shares the following anecdote from the sculptress Louise Nevelson: who made her home in the Bowery, New York City's Skid Row and even there she says:
" 'I collect for my eye.' Sitting in her dining room and looking out at the ugly building that stood across the street, she could find beauty in the varying patterns the sun and the moon reflected on its windows. She would look at a chair and say, 'The chair isn't so hot, but look at its shadow.' "
The Power of Optimism is filled with many anecdotes from both the lives of well-known people as well as ordinary folk. McGinnis ponders another characteristic of Tough Minded Optimists: "They have an almost unlimited capacity for stretching." And this is especially true for the elderly who are eager to learn new things and explore new worlds. Two other characteristics we loved were: "Optimists love to swap good news."
Given the deluge of bad things that are happening in the world, this is a fine strategy. And, last but not least, "Optimists accept what cannot be changed." This is a tough one to do but demands discipline and the art of letting go and living with what is.