Friday, July 13, 2012

Is Pessimism More Realistic Than Optimism?

Politics has turned into armed camps, the economy is hurting, the world is getting hotter and we have too many people.  Woe be unto us.  Organized religion is less popular than ever before, Europe is on the ropes.  Woe be unto all of us!

Kind of hard to escape, huh?  So, when I thought this topic up, how could I even consider it to be a real question.  I mean, how can you debate other than that things are bad?

Yet, here are two of the finest men I know, gentlemen and obvious optimists both:

img_6943

This is John McKay (pronounced muh-KYE) the owner of South Pacific Seed out of Methven, New Zealand, near Christchurch.  John didn’t know us from Adam and Eve, but helped us arrange our trip to New Zealand when Lafawnda was studying over there.  A patient of the Lady Fossil had known him when he was in college and gave us his name and told us to contact him and mention her.  We did and the rest is history.

John arranged the car rental for us and told us the best route, things to see and timing for our visit to the South Island.  Then he told us to contact him once we were close to Methven.

Little did we know that John had accumulated wealth by working in the fields as a farmer his whole life, hooking up with the right people in Australia, organizing the wide area farmers and developing a magnificent seed company.  To give you an idea of some of the scale, John’s company supplies half of the radish seeds to the entire world!  And that is only part of what he processes.

We expected to go to a hotel or motel and come to find out he was putting us up in his home.  He gave us a complete tour of the plant, found out I had grown up in Kansas and took us to the World Plowing championships – and I will tell you more about that in another post, trust me – and we had a fantastic time!  He is now in the process of helping people from Christchurch after the big earthquakes they had there.

Two observations about John: 1) he hasn’t changed with success.  Everyone told us that was true and it sure looked that way to us.  and 2) he really would think you a coward for being a pessimist.  He is used to hard work and he absolutely loves people and the world around him.  See that look on his face?  That is typically how he looks and it is returned in spades by all those he meets.

The following gentleman has been a friend for years:

img_7555

George Hurley, shown here with his wife Judy on their 40th Anniversary, live in the Sierras now.  They came from right here in our hometown and George spent his career running warehouses for Kellogs.  Strong as an ox and more fit than most Olympians, George now spends his time in his 60’s clearing his land and the land of his neighbors.  His energy is limitless.

George has seen hard times and I won’t violate his privacy by letting you in on them, but suffice it to say that he could justify a dour outlook.  But, it just isn’t in his nature.  I just can’t help feeling good around George, whether he is coaching kid, showing me his railroad collection or sitting back in his wine cellar deciding what would be the perfect beverage for the evening.

So, is it so simple?  No, it is individual.  George never shied away from the reality of his son in Iraq and John doesn’t shy away from helping those unhomed from Christchurch or helping his wife recover when she was hit by a car and almost killed.  They are both willing and able to take on the needs of the day, whether they be pleasant or not.

However, when these guys are there … it is ALWAYS more pleasant!

After you comment here, go check out what the other LBC members think of this topic on the right hand side of the page.  Just click their links.  Read and leave a comment.

Come on.  Get going! Smile

19 comments:

  1. Why use either word? These two are great examples of practical people with perseverance as their core competence. Nice to learn about them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rummuser, I am sure this reflects your philosophy and I have no problem with it in your hands. However, I think pessimism and optimism exists in the world of others, therefore, I deal with it.

      Pessimism and optimism as it applies to these two is more a reflection of the positive outlook they bring to life, the emotional quality of what they bring to each new situation.

      Delete
  2. They are both willing and able to take on the needs of the day, whether they be pleasant or not.

    Yep - play the cards you are dealt to the best of your ability. Somnetimes you win, sometimes you lose but the effort matters most. Keep placing one foot in front of the other

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, I totally agree. Some situations you can do little with, but with others it can make an enormous difference.

      Delete
  3. A wonderful outlook on life for both these men and yes, it is a joy to be around folks that have this optomistic can do attitude'

    This was an interesting challenge and I am glad that you chose this subject.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Maria. And my association with you puts you in the same grouping as these guys. You are no unrealistic Pollyanna, but you sure brighten the day.

      Delete
  4. I think you are very right; pessimism is a true sign of cowardice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, D! However, optimism through denial is too.

      Delete
  5. You made my day, consort. It brightens the day to hear of selfless, loving, folk who make our world a better place.
    Blessings - Maxi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maxi, these guys made the day. I was just the reporter.

      Delete
  6. Good question. Pessimism seems sharper and more obvious. well, let's go to light and darkness. Darkness is absence of light. The sky is usually light, The sun usually shines, but then clouds obscure - we notice; i'm naturally optimistic, but that's because of core beliefs and a very wide scope of the generations and the future. I believe we live in the dark heart of humanity's age. then again, i believe some day we will have a just, spiritual society. But, it's going to take a lonnnnggggg time. regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am optimistic due to core beliefs, too!

      Delete
  7. I find the positive energy of an optimist to be very infectious and inspiring

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is definitely contagious, GM! Then again, so is pessimism.

      Delete
  8. In my opinion (sometimes humble!), there is a fine line between denial and optimism. One weird decision and you can find yourself in la-la-land. But how can you not risk the opportunity to be happy? We come here to earth-school with lots of tools at our disposal. Our course of study is self-determined. The most powerful tool in our kit is "choice". Choice defines our personal reality. My recent journey with my sweet man through the mine field that is ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) further distilled our belief that choosing love over fear ultimately confers a degree called "spiritual bonanza"! Hugs from Mewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mewhere, that is beautifully said. It can even be said that adding creativity to the toolkit by definition implies denial, denial of what is for what can be.

      Watching you and your mate go through that painful episode conferred a spiritual bonanza to me just by osmosis. The powerful choices you made and the grace you displayed show just how effective that path can be. You changed us all for the better!

      Delete
  9. Oh, my - you have rendered me speechless (temporarily!) Mahalo!

    ReplyDelete

If a post is older than 7 days, the comment will go for moderation. Sorry for that inconvenience, but it cuts down on spam and it is much better than Captcha. I promise to check the moderation folder regularly.