How do we make a difference in the world? In particular, how do we make a difference in the face of adversity? These are difficult questions to ask at the best of times. They are especially challenging questions to ask right now. The world is a scary place that feels like it is getting scarier. It is easy to despair of it all, to want to give up and withdraw and make it all go away. Figuring out what to do instead is hard. One path forward comes from the intriguing intersection of ideas shared by a writer, an admiral and a psychologist (not the punchline for a joke).
We are entering into the final days of 2021. It has been a whirlwind and a roller coaster. The year has felt interminable, and it has gone by in the blink of an eye. There has been hope and there has been frustration. There have been a few successes along the way, and not an inconsiderable number of setbacks. As I reflect on my own year, I can honestly say that I have accomplished more than I might have expected, and leave the year with a positive stance. That outcome was not always a certainty.
We are hardwired to look for and emphasize the negative. This is what gives rise to our perfectionist tendencies; perfectionism sounds positive, but is in fact an avoidance and intolerance of the imperfect. While it is easy to be negative, it isn’t necessarily very productive, though. And while optimism to some might represent an unrealistic and impractical viewing of the world through idealistic rose-coloured glasses, there is a great deal of insight to suggest that highlighting the positive makes a world of difference. Optimism might not be innate, but for your future success it might just be vital.
Most of us like plans, and we like to plan. We like to know what’s coming, and where we are trying to go. And then life throws you a curveball, and you have to respond. A guide to navigating life when crisis strikes.