Have you ever had a song stuck in your head - you hum it, you whistle it - and it just won’t go away. Right now, I have a catchy old song on my brain that is actually pretty sunny – it was originally released by Johnny Nash, over 40 years ago. I am humming it now - “ I Can See Clearly Now, The Rain Is Gone… “, over and over. And if something has to be stuck in my cranium, it might as well be a song that promises great things in the future, now that “the rain is gone.”
The song reminds me, in a weird sort of way, that optimism is not only a good thing, but a necessary thing to succeed. However like all blanket statements, it is sometimes much harder to do than to talk about.
There are definitely people out there who have trouble seeing clearly, while others not only see the glass half full, but filling all the time. Those are the people I try to surround myself with, because like momentum in a big game, optimism is catching. Optimism does not translate to a Happy Face or Pollyanna glasses, but most often to simply slogging on, because the choices are simple – give up or keep going. How to do it may not be easy, and the instructions are nowhere written, but I think Albert Einstein put it pretty well when he said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
This topic of staying with it came to me a few Saturdays ago when I was in the gym spinning. I wrote about spinning a number of months ago - suffice it to say, it is not always easy to complete an hour of this Draconian practice. We were struggling to keep our legs moving as we climbed a steep hill, which was to persist for 3 minutes. At the end of the first minute, the instructor said “we have climbed 30% of the hill” – then added, “Some of you are saying, on my God, another 70% to go, while others are thinking, hey, I have finished 30%, only 70% more to do.” Isn’t that the truth when a hard task is in front of us, - we can complain or get on with the job.
Perhaps it is because I am maturing that I don’t have a lot of patience with complainers and pessimists. While I don’t want to be around them, I give my advice (but only when asked) about what I do to try to pick myself up. I often remind myself to replace the “o” with an “e” in a single word. I try never to think “I’ve got to go to work”, ‘I’ve got to go running”, I’ve got to do those exercise”, “I’ve got to go to class”, rather I think “I get to go to work”, “I get to go running”, “I get to do those exercises”, “I get to go to class”…
It doesn’t always work, but it puts things in perspective, and perhaps that is all we need when life is a little out of balance. By the way, I am still humming; the next line is “I can see all obstacles in my way.” I can’t wait to see you at a trade show somewhere, we can all break out in song and we’ll get to make fools of ourselves!