Maintaining Happiness Through Optimism

John - LaGrange Park, Illinois
Entered on February 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

My grandfather Robert grew up the youngest of four in a rough neighborhood in Chicago. Fights were commonplace, and my grandfather and his two older brothers got into plenty. One day, he was playing basketball at a park district with his brother John. When they were going to leave, there was another boy blocking the door. The boy said, “You’re not going out this door.” Robert, being the younger, more reserved brother, wanted to go out the other door, which was longer walk. But John insisted that he go out the door, and the conflict soon escalated into a fight. It turned out the boy blocking the door was a golden glove boxer, and John took a beating from him. But as they walked out the door, John remarked, “Well, we got out the door, didn’t we?”

John’s outlook on life is a model for all of us. Instead of sulking on the minor inconveniences of life, we should learn to take an optimistic outlook. Depaul women’s basketball coach Doug Bruno says, “We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can and must control our attitude towards them.” We all spend a short time here on Earth, and it is up to us to make the best of it. We can all try to make the perfect lives for ourselves, but not everything works out, and ultimately it is up to us to make the best of what we are given. I think that how good of a life you live is a function of how happy you are during your life. There are many ways of attaining this happiness, but the primal objective of life is simply to be happy.

I believe in optimism in everyday life as a means of achieving happiness. If I can be optimistic and look at these everyday occurrences on the bright side, I will have achieved a greater quality of life. It’s not hard for me to be sanguine and positive, because I have a great life. I live in an upper class area in the United States, and I go to a school where there is hardly any violence and little animosity between students. I get good grades, and I have plenty of friends. There are many people who are far less fortunate, and even among those less fortunate there are many people who are optimistic. There is no reason for me to be sullen about the trivial things that affect me, so I try to always maintain a good spirit. When life gets me down I might be sad for a short while, but then I reflect on something good, and I go back to being happy. I think we all could use a little bit more happiness in our lives.