What Changed My Life: Optimism

Brian - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on April 29, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe everyone should always try to think positively and not focus on the negative, regardless of the situation. Throughout my life, I have always had two options: be depressed because of a bad situation, or say, “Okay, where do I go from here?” Yes, there have been times when I have been depressed because of a situation. But those situations are always the ones that I learn the most from.

Every year, I go to a camp in North Carolina. I was having the time of my life at there and I woke up every day with a huge smile on my face. Then, one of the worst things possible happened; one accident impaired me from doing all the things I loved. While I was skateboarding, I fell horribly, landed and my arm, and broke it. When I got back from the hospital, I was given two options: I could stay or go home to my parents. I chose to stay. I endured grimacing pain, relying on the help of my friends to do the most basic activities. Worst of all, I missed out on the trip I was dying to go on. It crushed me. I felt overwhelmed constantly, and occasionally, I broke down. I could barely handle it. The last week at the camp consisted of camp games like soccer. While everyone was out competing, I was watching on the sidelines or in the infirmary.

Even during this hardship, I learned something so important. When I was in the infirmary or on the sidelines, I realized, I get to be at Camp Carolina only 1/12 of the year. I needed to focus on having fun, even though my arm restricted my activities. I decided I was not going to be the downer and affect my cabin mates’ camp experiences by moping or whining. I decided to try to be happy and strong. I never tried to make people pity me. I tried to sleep in my cabin instead of in the infirmary where someone could treat my incredible pain, and I always tried to hide how much I was hurting. This decision dramatically improved my attitude and experience.

Today, every time I can, I attempt to be positive and not focus on the negative. Optimism is now one of my deepest values. Optimism has affected my life remarkably. Now, I am a more cheerful, positive, and most importantly, happy person. So I challenge you. Every time something sad or unfortunate happens to you, know you have two choices: be depressed about it or carry on. I hope you will always choose carry on.

Attempt to apply optimism in your everyday life. If we as a country tried to be optimistic, especially in hard times, we could all be happier and not consumed by all the troubles facing us. This I believe, optimism will dramatically affect your life, just as it did mine.