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From The Desk…

December 14, 2009

of Thomas Ott recently featured An American Girl In Cambodia on his blog. He talks about being struck by my (fairly recent) choice to live as an optimist. I was responding to his post, but thought maybe my readers would also be interested in how I came to make this choice.

In my first post on An American Girl In Cambodia I declared my choice to live as an optimist. This, of course, means that I haven’t always been an optimist. In fact, I spent a long time as a cynical, too-cool-for-school, judgemental, sarcastic and detached type. These phases were peppered with more loving, generous and authentic connections I reached out to become the person I’ve always wanted to become. However, I often felt caught in limbo because wanted to live positively but didn’t know how to put that into practice.

Then I had a major A-Ha moment and a glowing lightbulb illuminated the way. I was listening to Gala Darling’s first podcast in the newly launched Love & Sequins series when I heard her say,


“So, how do you know whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist? The general measure tends to be how you react to failure. Pessimists think that their failures are personal (their fault), pervasive (it’s always like this) & permanent (it’s never going to change). Optimists, on the other hand, tend to believe that maybe other circumstances contributed to the bad thing happening, that this one bad thing is just a fluke & that it will change soon.”

Stop. Rewind. I listened to it again. I listened and read the accompanied text. Then I went back and listened to it a third time. I thought, “why am I doing this to myself?” Why am I continuing this delusion of doom and gloom when I could choose to believe in change and hope? Why do I believe that every obstacle and upset is my fault? It took a lot of courage to realize I had created the environment that had me feeling so stuck and miserable, but that ultimately meant I have the power to make changes.
Now, I’m working hard to recalibrate my outlook. I want to expect great things of myself and for myself. When I encounter a bump in the road, I remind myself that it is just one bump not the first in a series of many. I’ve found that when you expect everything will work out, it usually does. 
4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2009 8:18 am

    Thanks for the mention! I’ve learned that every morning we wake up, we have a choice. We have a choice to be happy or miserable. I choose happy, even if my situation is miserable.

  2. December 21, 2009 2:16 am

    hi Leigh – this is very interesting – I’m going to share it with a few of my pessimistic friends. I am terminally optimistic and am the product of a chronically optimistic mother.
    Hope you are enjoying your time in Cambodia.

    • December 21, 2009 7:58 am

      I used to think terminally optimistic people were missing the point or naive. Now I know that it’s a choice and probably one that is better suited for success! Optimism has greatly improved my quality of life.

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