Walking in Victory

Choose Optimism

By on September 23, 2013

“If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes.” (Job 14:14)

In spite of the chaotic circumstances engulfing the world around us, we must not give in to fear, we must not lose hope, we must remain optimistic.

Regardless of the circumstances he finds himself in, the optimist always anticipates a positive change. He first chooses the better side of his probable future, and then looks forward expectantly to things going his way. No wonder it is said that optimism is one habit that is much more valuable than all the silver and gold in the world put together. If a man has it, he has everything.

If failure is never an option for him, then his success is invariably guaranteed and there is nothing he can set his mind to that he will not accomplish. Optimism looks at the best side of every event or situation. It is the inclination to constantly and consistently take a hopeful view.

History lends credence to the fact that optimists have been right much more often than pessimists.

  • In 1899, Charles H, Deuell, the Director of the United States Patent Office, wrote:

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” But he was wrong! He obviously had no inkling of the technological revolution the world has witnessed in the past few decades.

  • Lloyd Kelvin, president of the Royal Society, said in 1895: “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” Today even Lloyds will be amazed at the revolution that has occurred in the aviation industry.
  • The king’s personal assistant shouted ‘impossible!’ when Elisha prophesied abundance in time of famine in Israel. Well, it happened exactly as Elisha said.
  • A few years ago, many Nigerians would have sworn the prevailing military dictatorship in the country would never come to an end. Today we all know better.

All these point to the fact that impossibility is only a product of man’s imagination.

Who then is an optimist? In simple terms, he is the man who looks at the best side of every situation with a firm conviction that things can only get better. He is a Jeremiah 29:11 man, the man who knows that God’s thoughts towards him are thoughts of good, to give him a future and a hope. He lives in anticipation of God’s expected end for his life, irrespective of the prevailing circumstances. An optimist does not fear the clouds, he simply walks on them. Such a man seeks out opportunity in every crisis or calamity.

In the words of William Arthur Ward, “An optimist undertakes a seemingly impossible task in the spirit of immeasurable enthusiasm, unbounded determination, unbelievable excitement, indestructible confidence, uncompromising thoroughness and indefatigable persistence with understandable success.

The late Norman Vincent Peale once asked a doctor what he thought were the physiological advantages of optimism over depression. His answer was: “Depression in the mind increases the possibility of infection by at least tenfold.” And this truth was statistically confirmed by a study in which 99 Harvard graduates were interviewed. These graduates were monitored over a period of 35 years. At the end it was discovered that those who were pessimistic in nature encountered substantially more health problems than those who had an optimistic outlook.

Maybe you are wondering how on earth you can be optimistic when everything around you portends gloom. Well, your situation cannot possibly be as bad as that of the man who made the statement in our opening text. He was not exactly a young man, but in one day he lost everything he had including his ten children. As if that was not bad enough, he was struck with painful boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.

Naturally speaking, Job had nothing more to live for. But this is what he said, “…I will wait till my change comes.” He simply refused to give up! Job chose to look at the future with an attitude of positive expectancy. And he came through! At the end, the Bible says that the Lord gave him twice as much as he had before. The question is: What if he did not hang on? What if he had chosen to give up, curse God and die as advised?

That reminds me of the story of George and Jeanie Douglas who were bankrupt some years ago. Today they enjoy the benefits of being co-founders of the $40 million Computer Business Services Incorporated. But how did they come through? When George lost his job and was trying to figure out what his future would hold, he decided to change his attitude about life and become more of an optimist.

As part of his new commitment to living with greater expectancy, Douglas took a notebook and drew a line down the middle of one page. On one side he wrote “yes” and on the other he put “no.” He then stuck that notebook in their car as a reminder to look for opportunities. Every time they drove into a parking lot they refused to take the open parking spaces far from the door and drive up toward the front with expectations of finding a place.

They documented the results from every parking lot for seven years. If they found a spot close to the door they marked it on the ”yes” side of the notebook. If they had to take a place that was not near the door then they marked “no.” When they compiled the results of their experiment, they found out that 67 percent of the time there was a parking space near the door.

Do you know that life has similarities with that parking lot experiment? Those who live without it may never realize their potential.

Have you decided to choose optimism? Here are some points to help you.

  1. Know your source. It is impossible for a man who looks to a source greater than himself to surrender to unpleasant situations. Your own source is the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth.
  2. Understand that God concluded your life long before you were born. There is nothing that happens to you that will not ultimately work together for your good if you are in God’s will.
  3. Whatever your situation now, remember that God has brought you through worse situations before.
  4. Thank God for that situation, and trust Him to bring out the best in it.
  5. See yourself beyond the problem and start celebrating your desired change.

 

Confession
Because Jesus lives, I can face tomorrow. I see only the best and bright side of life, no matter the situation. I am never weighed down by crisis or calamity. I look to the future with positive expectancy. I choose the better future and that is exactly what I will get. God has promised me future and a hope, and a life without limit. And I know He is faithful to His promises. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Taiwo Odukoya
Lagos, Nigeria

Taiwo Odukoya, petroleum engineer, author and senior pastor of The Fountain of Life Church, is an expert on leadership and relationship issues.

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