Posted by: Kate | August 31, 2010

Optimism, Resilience, Getting ‘Er Done

I have recently read a couple of things that have me thinking about optimism and resilience, and how we all approach life. More importantly, perhaps, how we all approach bumps in our life journeys.

The first is Michael J. Fox’s book, Always Looking Up. I really enjoyed this book — Michael’s writing is clear and thoughtful, as well as thought-provoking at times. Obviously he is someone who has looked adversity in the eye and decided to embrace it as best as he can. I think, if I read him correctly, that he wouldn’t see any other way as that is the point of being an optimist. (I’m making an assumption here that most people know the story of Michael J. Fox’s journey with Parkinson’s Disease. Michael is often on lists of favourite Canadians, although he is now a US citizen.)

The second thing I read was an article in an old Reader’s Digest on resiliency. According to the article, this was the trait that was identified as being important to happiness in long life. The seniors who were interviewed for the study believed it was their ability to face issues head on and deal with them that made their lives rich and fulfilled. The article went on to detail how you can be a resilient person – the idea being that while some of us are naturally resilient in nature, the rest of us can work towards it.

In general I think of both myself and Mr. Kate as resilient people. We get done what we need to, we enjoy life, we accept circumstances. I have noticed in myself though a tendency to over-worry, and I would like to change this. It is a drain on my psyche, and often a waste of my time. I do think a certain amount of worry is healthy, if you never worry about something then perhaps you aren’t someone who plans ahead either. I’m not sure. I just know that those two readings came to me at a time when I needed them, and I hope I am receptive to their messages.

Are you a resilient person? An optimist? A worrier? What do you think about these traits – are they necessary to you or do you have other traits that assist you better in living your life?



  1. i have been working very hard at cutting down my useless worrying, focusing on being in the moment and letting go of things i can not control.
    focusing on living in the moment doesn’t mean i don’t plan ahead, just that i try not to spend time worrying about every possible outcome for each activity – does that make sense?
    i wouldn’t say that i am an optimist, maybe more of a realist with pessimistic tendencies? :)

  2. I think I have my ups and downs and it is my resiliency that allows me to have balance and not sink into the downs for too long. Resiliency is very important to me.

  3. Great post, Kate. I’ve followed the PACE philosophy since I first heard it from a fellow with severe MS. Remember to PACE yourself, (P)ositive (A)ttitude (C)hanges (E)verything. I like to think that I’m a positive person with humungous amounts of resiliency. Another good motto I like is “Keep on Marching” (said by a general, don’t recall who). And worrying? What me worry? I believe it’s a waste of time. I’ve got too many great things to do to allow worrying get in the way. I’m also not so caught up ‘in the clouds’ that I’m not a realist, tho some may disagree. lol

    Michael J. Fox is one of my heros. Now talk about a positive attitude :)

  4. Interesting post…and thought provoking. I’ve often been labeled as a pessimist but I don’t think that word is quite fitting. I believe I’m a realist…I don’t expect the worst but I’m always mentally alert to deal with it when it happens.

    As for resiliency, I suppose I never thought about myself in that way before. But I believe that I am resilient…i may dwell or I may worry too much or about things that I can’t change, but in the end I pull out and I’m stronger for it. With that said, I struggle to live in the moment. It’s something I’ve been thinking about daily lately and something I’m slowly trying to change. I hope that’s possible.

  5. I have always seen myself as resilient and optimistic (I’m a realist, too–but I think that though bad things DO and WILL happen, in the end things will be basically OK).

    I think that what we can often write our own truths. So if we tell ourselves “I am resilient” and “I am strong” we will become so.

  6. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of cynic and a pessimist. I think it would be healthier to be a little more resilient to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Ironically, as I drove to work today and someone cut me off and I was quick to anger, I thought it was time to really read The Art of Happiness, and not just skim it.

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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