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The Possimpible People

Florida... the land of Disney World, sea, sand and sun. And, if you're a bit more knowledgeable, the Everglades, which houses a hefty population of alligators. Meet Dave Merwin, the Alligator Hunter. Cut him some slack... he's new to the business and he's still learning the basics. And what better way to learn than from some real live friendly American alligators? Well, Dave figured they were friendly because he'd seen pictures of them with toothy smiles and something that showed that many teeth while smiling couldn't be dangerous.

So, he and his cameraman Henry Lierse went to the Everglades to train. Dave was a smart, confident young man. After a lot of rational thinking, he decided that he wouldn't take anyone else with him, after all, if he did anything embarrassing and anyone saw him, he would be teased about it forever. Ah, the eighth deadly sin, insecurity.

They set about shooting as soon as they saw an alligator. Dave waded through the murky water. This alligator had lots of teeth, it must be very friendly. Oh look! It was smiling at him, aww wasn't that sweet? Nah, it couldn't have seen him. It was coming this way, would it bite him? Nah, God was looking out for him, it wouldn't bite him. Still, just in case, maybe he should swim back to shore... “Henry HELP, it's GOT ME!!!” Henry would help him; maybe the alligator would just take his left leg... “AHHHHHH!!! My right leg!!”

Contrary to popular opinion, that is not optimism. That is called being highly unrealistic. Being realistic doesn't automatically categorise you as a pessimist. Now if Dave was a true optimist he would have thought, 'Well, maybe I'll die quickly.' Henry you see was an optimist. He thought, 'Well, maybe if I just stay onshore, the alligator with the powerful jaws and amazing swimming capabilities will be satisfied with eating Dave and leave me alone.'

Most of the time, being optimistic is when there's a fifty-fifty chance of something happening and you hope or believe that the outcome will be in your favour. Pessimists always tend to expect the worst to happen. Usually people think this makes pessimists more careful, cautious people. Funnily enough, that's not always the case. Some people are pessimists because the worst always does happen to them. But that's probably because they're not cautious enough... or because they jinx things by saying 'things can't get any worse than they are now.' Imagine if you were a whatever-creature-jinxes-people. If someone says that, you immediately want to see the look on their face when you prove them wrong. It's so tempting. That is the secret of an optimist. They never say 'things can't get any worse.' They say 'well, things are pretty bad but I'm still good, it's all good.' How do you jinx that?

Most of the true optimists in the world are highly cautious people. In fact, the reason many people are optimistic is because they know things can't go wrong because they've taken care of everything. That, or when they're saying optimistic things, it's mildly ominous.

Dictionary Definition: A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation

Note the word possible in the definition. Believing that the world will change is unrealistic. Please, people compared Stephanie Meyers to J. K. Rowling. And this Rebecca Black girl... there will always be idiots and criminals and abusive parents/husbands. Think realistically, the world won't change but people might. Unrealistic people expect or hope for miracles. Optimistic people hope or expect the best, minus divine intervention. There is a difference.

The funny thing about optimists is that they're stubborn. You've gotta be stubborn if you're an optimist. I mean, a lot of bad things happen to optimists too, things don't always turn out your way unless you're a rich Daddy's little girl. But no matter what, they always keep on hoping for the best. And when the good stuff does happen, well, it just makes them more optimistic.

An optimist is the human personification of spring.

By Sifana Sohail


The Price of Optimism

“An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight… the truly wise person is colour-blind.”
-Albert Schweitzer

To be optimistic is indeed deeply satisfactory. To hope and to expect, to nurture your hidden desires and wait for them to materialise is one of the greatest feelings that you can get in your life. But what help does that ever come to, in a world so harsh and so uncertain? And the price that you have to pay for the fleeting peace of mind in a trouble-ridden life, worn down with uncertainties and bright hopes crushed down are ludicrously high.

Look around you, at the tiny scraps and bits of life that you get to witness every passing day. You see young smiling faces and hearts strummed to their highest chord, singing the bright song of hope and optimism. Fast forward into their lives, and what do you see after ten, twenty years have passed? Frowns have replaced the smiles and the jovial stances are lost to foreheads creased to a hundred worry lines. Hope has rewarded them with its ultimate gift: disappointment. Only because of soaring so high through the air, the pain was so much greater when you finally had to drop down hard upon the ground.

This is a world where you don't even have the guarantee of surviving through another day. Every tiny expectation, wistful thinking is almost all the time recompensed with nothing but angry frustration. You studiously tried your best to garner that coveted first position in your class; you failed, because there's always someone better than you. All attempts of trying to win the heart of that desired person ended in vain. College applications were regularly rejected. And what had you not invested in the cost of hoping and expecting? Your mind, heart and soul. Your very being.

Optimism provides us with ever persisting illusion of well-being, of a time when things wouldn't be so hard and intolerable for the bearer. Notwithstanding the screaming reality and hammering veracity, optimism acts as a shade over our eyes, one that's trying to blind us to the obvious. What harm does it do to us, you ask? What does it matter, to be blind and oblivious? The pain of disappointment never changes, no matter how enthusiastic or indifferent you were at the speculation of the outcome, you think.

Wrong. It is only disappointment when you are harbouring high expectations inside you. When you are building castles in the air, fantasising about dreams by keeping your feet high above the ground, only then are you crushed down if the castles collapse and the dreams shatter like brittle glass. Optimism can be tantamount to stupidity sometimes. Only a fool would lie in a trance envisioning about wonderful futures without taking the actuality into context.

But pessimism can't be the answer to anything. It never solves anything by being weirdly pessimistic to every little problem in your life. A dark cloud might bring rain, but the mere sight of it doesn't guarantee an incoming storm. But why not keep a clear head? Instead of looking up and smiling merrily at the thought that, “There's a silver lining to every cloud”, you might think that there's a fifty-fifty chance of both. Other than painting your world in reds and yellows or in ashes and greys, why not dim it to a serene medium? By keeping the possibility of every outcome in your mind, you get to experience only the feelings that you had the foreknowledge of. What better alternative is there to this way of thinking?

Life, indeed, becomes child's play if you decide to cling to the ground.

By Kiddin' Kid


Smilers

Smiling, my friends, is a profession like any other. There are part-time smilers, and full-time smilers, lazy smilers and smilaholics; there's a whole smilers' world behind the scenes, making life work for you. Every morning, these selfless souls rise from their beds, and tuck away nightmares in the very backs of their minds. They shower and dress, and then open the special drawers where they keep those pieces of happiness overnight, in silk-lined boxes. Perhaps they sigh, and shut their eyes for a while, relishing a moment of blissful unhappiness (a paradox not officially sanctioned in their contracts), before clipping the smile in place. You must excuse them if their eyes remain dim for a minute or two - they are a little tired, and their lips ache from holding sunshine in place day after day after day. But it is their job, after all, so worry not, they will pull out a laugh from that overflowing pot of joy inside them, and it will rasp through a well-practised throat as they shake mocking heads at themselves.

And then they are off to work, skipping through the littered streets, taking deep breaths of the fume-thick air and turning contented faces to the blistering sun. They hum some cheery tune, and most likely you glare at them as they pass by, for having the audacity to be perky so early in the morning. The irritation is probably born of jealousy. You are jealous of their magician's fingers, which can pull rainbows out of the clouds. You are jealous of their perfect lives, which hand them not a trouble or a tear. You are jealous, indeed, of their eternal smiles, their lovely, gleaming smiles that do not falter for a second throughout the long day. And they laugh as they contemplate this jealousy, not unkindly, of course, for that would be against the rules, but a little bitterly, perhaps, weary as they are. And then they enter their offices, but unlike everyone else, they do not put their heads down on their arms and fall asleep, because they have been told the nightmares will only be kept at bay while they smile.

Smilers do not get weekends off. On Fridays and Saturdays in Bangladesh, and Saturdays and Sundays everywhere else in the world, they bake cakes of sugar, spice and everything nice, and hand out pieces to random strangers on the roads. They gallop to the sick on the backs of unicorns, help the elderly at traffic crossings, talk people out of committing suicide, sing happy songs, watch romantic comedies, and adopt wretched puppies from dog shelters. By the end of the weekend, they're exhausted. More so, even, than they were before it. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, and they continue to spread peace, love and happiness across this dreary world. And as time passes, they grow more and more jaded, but still, every time someone asks how they are, a ready answer jumps to their lips, fitting perfectly with the smile. Awesome, they say. I'm awesome. Absolutely brilliant.

But they're lying, of course, as smilers often do. They don't feel awesome. They don't feel brilliant. What they really want, and desperately need, is a holiday.

They have written letters, signed petitions, begged on bended knees, but the big bosses said no. No, you cannot stop smiling. No, you cannot be sad. Suck it up, you're a smiler. Unless. Unless you want to be fired?

By Grasshopper

 
 

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