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Is Optimism A Fatal Flaw?

Posted on: April 26, 2011

The Happiness Dilemma

I’m guilty of putting a positive spin on every catastrophe I encounter (in my case, many). I can usually find the sunshine in any situation. And I’ve begun to wonder, is seeing the good in everyone and everything distracting me from demanding the best from myself?

On Easter Sunday, I was watching a home movie of my older brother and I searching for Easter eggs in 1989. Every time he found an egg, he would announce, “I have 3 eggs,” or “I have 8 eggs,” or whatever number.  And every time he announced his new find, I would say the same thing, with the same enthusiasm as the last time: “I have one egg!”

Why was I so happy with just one egg? Why was I so proud? Did I not learn anything in my first 6 years? As an American child, I should have been more competitive. I should not have been happy for that one egg in comparison to my brother who had eight times that amount. We are taught to win, and we are taught that more is better. More is better after all, no?

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I thought about my recent past. Since my company folded, people have said, “You were too good for that place, Gia.” “You were over-worked and underpaid.” “You poured your heart and soul into that company, but this is just the push you needed to go get something better.” But what if I liked what I did? Even if the pay wasn’t fabulous (as I work in an industry where people work for love, not money), I could afford to live off of it, only missing a few trips I would’ve taken traveling-wise. And I liked it. Was this my fatal flaw?

We are not supposed to be content; we are always supposed to be wanting something more, something better. It’s easy to think, once you have x,y. or z, you will be happy. But once you get x, y, or z, you are not. Now you need a, b, or c. It is never enough.

I was always happy; it was enough. But if you are content with the way things are, are you selling yourself short? Are you being complacent, rather than content?

I’m simple, I think. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. But in the modern world, is being simple simply being stupid?

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2 Responses to "Is Optimism A Fatal Flaw?"

I stumbled across this after losing my laptop today and wondering if it was an issue that I’m trying my best to stay optimistic rather than moan and groan about it. I completely identify with you; I’m always trying to see the positive aspects of what happens. Even after losing my laptop at the end of a semester during finals week at college, I’m just trying to smile. I hope optimism isn’t a flaw, because it is what gets me through the happiest of situations. And if it is a flaw, well then. Nobody is perfect!

Matte, losing your laptop during finals week—what a nightmare of a situation! I hope everything has worked out for you. Thanks for your comment! It’s nice to know people actually read this 🙂

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