October 16, 2016

Optimism: The Beacon of Light in the Darkness






Are you where you thought you’d be today?

Have your hopes and dreams of yesterday become the reality of today?

Have you been able to completely resolve major issues of the past?

I have to answer those questions with an emphatic “No!” I still have some of the same struggles. Certain people and situations I want to change haven’t altered much—if at all.  I seem to have no control over so many aspects of my life. I can’t speed up, or completely resolve, crucial issues no matter how hard I try. 

I feel like throwing up my hands and saying, “I give up!” You may be able to relate.

Improvement Within Chaos

Let’s step back for a moment and take a breath…So your life isn’t as perfect as expected as this point.  On the other hand, you can probably think of situations that have gotten better—even if only a little. I have made a table of some examples of how my life has moved forward in the past year:


No job
Full-time job
Unmotivated kids
Studying for technical certification
Moderate asthma
It’s improving
14-year old car
Bought a 4-year old car
Severe, chronic medical problem
Found a natural cure—finally!!!!!
A small amount of energy
Have a physical job

Please note that I didn’t include the table above to brag about myself. I made it for the purpose of showing that anyone’s life can progress against the odds. It’s one of those “If I can do it, you can do it” situations.

Substitute your own defeats and victories for mine. You’ll notice that slow, baby steps to triumph can be found even within tough circumstances. You just have to switch your focus from the negative to the positive. I recently wrote articles about appreciating brief moments of joy here and counting your blessings here.

Carol Graham

My close friend is currently going through a number of trials. That’s pretty much the story of her life.  She recently published an excellent article about focusing on the positive here. Her take was that we should compare our lives of one year ago to today; we may notice progress among setbacks. We must look beyond our current tough situations with gratitude and vision, though.

My Conclusion


Along with the struggle come small victories. Along with the thorns comes the rose. It’s all in how you look at it.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”—Philippians 4:12 (NIV)

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For more about step-by-step improvement, please see my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds


Are you able to look beyond the thorns to the rose?