I hope I don’t get kicked out of the Optimist Club for saying this, but I’m actually more of a realist than an optimist. No, I’d say I have both optimist and realist layers- and I have a bad habit of revealing the layer that is the opposite of the person I’m talking with. I guess I like balance.
So when someone has a wonderful idea, I’ll ask them if they’ve thought about… x. Or y. I can’t help it, my brain wants to take that idea and analyze it to death.
On the other hand, if I have an idea, and you question it, be very gentle. Losing my ideas is like losing my hair. It’s harmless, but it hurts if you pull too hard. And no one wants to be bald.
All this to say that I generally believe that every smile and every kind word you give to others has the potential to make their day, maybe even change the course of their lives (that’s the optimist).
I do not live as though this is true. I use my smiles sparingly, for personal and professional use only. Strangers scare me. I also tend to keep positive comments to myself. Today the acquaintance I sat next to in a training event had a gorgeous pumpkin colored turtle-neck sweater that was very flattering on her. I thought it. I could have said it. The opportunity never arose.
Today, though, someone said something to me that absolutely made my day. He encouraged me, that even Ernest Hemingway was a pauper during his life. (That really is an encouragement, even if not for my pocketbook.) He also said that he enjoyed my writing. Coming from a well-respected member of the community, I felt like I was ten-foot-tall. You could have told me my puppy died and it wouldn’t have phased me (I don’t own any pets).
So, little things do matter. Tell that person nearest you that you appreciate them. Smile at a stranger. Never give up hope! Never give up, period.