Ever since I was a kid, I was told that I had a great imagination. I enjoyed being creative, drawing and imagining. Pretending and having fun. As I’ve grown older, I thought that my imagination had faded away entirely. Turns out that it didn’t, it simply changed it’s focus as my focuses had changed over time. Becoming an adult had changed my priorities and I started to let the prescribed life plan take over. People started telling me that I should be worrying about this thing and that thing and buy this thing and that thing. Then one day I woke up and went “Okay, I’ve got all the stuff, now what?” Responses varied but I was unhappy so I stuck with the “hate life” plan. “How many ways can today be ruined?” Or “how much is the workday going to suck?” Five or six years ago, my brain looked a little like the above statements. Oh and most importantly, my imagination was there answering those questions with highly detailed imagery and narration of just how awful things could be and presently were. A little thing that some people refer to as “spiraling.” It took some time to realize that my imagination was merely a multiplier of what I was focused on. Our imagination is a tool, I believe. Stay focusing on the negative and it becomes really good at showing us the horrible ways that a situation can play out and because you think it will happen this way, you subconsciously make it this way. However, focusing on the good can do exactly the opposite. Optimism combined with imagination can show us the endless possibilities of awesome that await us. Which of course sounds incredible right up until it’s not. My optimism without any checks and balances leads me to believe that everything will be fine and take huge risks without proper planning or forethought. Through my 30 years of having and living in both extremes, I recommend a balance of both. Being overly negative is far worse than mere cautious thinking and reckless optimism is far more dangerous than positive encouragement of your ideas. Balance takes practice and I’m certainly no master of it but it’s important to always be striving for that goal. Wiser men than I have said it better than I can.
There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, “Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,” and an optimist who says, “Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway,” Either way, nothing happens – Yvon Chouinard