Story of a Naive Optimist – Part 1 (Attitude)
I just watched Will Smith’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” for the second time and was inspired to write this blog. The first time I saw this film was on its UK release in the cinemas in 2007, at a time when I had started to build the foundation to my new life following a period of despair. Now, watching it in 2011, I realise how much my life has changed and in retrospect just how ‘fast’ it all appears to have happened.I’ll be 32 at the end of this month and although I am by legal definition; an “adult”, I’ve managed to retain my inner child; a double-edged sword of naive optimism and unlimited imagination in the midst of adult responsibilities and regular trimming of pubic hair that never bothered me in my pre-pubscent youth.As a kid, I was always dreaming of the infinite possibilities of what I could be and the adventures I could have. In my entire life, I’ve never been short for an answer of what I wanted to be when I grew up, there were too many options for my imagination and not enough time to be a professional Footballer and a Ghostbuster. When I wasn’t scoring goals, I’d be busting ghosts. Childhood is a journey of invincibility, where our curiosity for life and desire for everything our minds could conjure easily became intentions for our adult lives of the future. However, soon enough the ‘reality’ of the world soon kicks in, and when attempt meets failure one too many times, coupled with discouragement from naysaying vultures that will soon hover over the carcass of your broken dreams, it’s very easy to ‘concede defeat’ and start towing the line of doing whatever it takes to the pay the bills, fit in with everyone else and perhaps escape into a temporary sense of joy with intoxicants or that holiday you saved for as a reward from the job you hate.I count myself as ‘lucky’ for having retained my naive optimism since childhood, as coupled with a total lack of any qualifications (okay, okay, I’ve got a GNVQ in Art & Design), I’ve had to rely on imagination and resourcefulness to get me where I am today instead of a certificate and a picture of me wearing that square hat you get when you graduate from university and straight into unemployment.For the most part, being naively optimistic as an adult will result in a copious amount of ridicule from many others, who’ll relish taking potshots at your ambitions, scoffing at your vain beliefs of skill, and laughing heartily when you fall on your face and fail. And you will fail, but it’s whether or not you try again that separates those who concede defeat and those who grasp victory by punching the jaws of defeat as many times as it’ll take. However, when your naive optimism meets sympathetic hearts and ears, the potency of your attitude reveals its nourishing qualities and strengthens your resolve and that of others who, like you, believe anything is possible. I once shared my dream to become a comedian with a colleague at work, to which he frowned and replied “It’s okay to have dreams and ambitions, but I wouldn’t put my money on ya”. Fast forward a few years, I’m no longer testing video games on a rolling contract on minimum wage.Attitude is where it all begins, the very foundation and fuel to living life at the speeds and heights you desire to achieve. As a nation, we’re comparably very apathetic when compared to our American cousins, and this can be seen in our TV shows. Many American shows have an upbeat and positive vibe to them, whatever the jeopardy, Jack Bauer always attempted to save the day, and with no toilet breaks. We’re never going to have total control over how our lives unfold, but we always have total control over our attitude. How we choose to emotionally and practically deal with a situation is entirely in our power, and even when faced with what feels like impossible odds, know that there are plenty of people in the world who overcome those odds with the right attitude.Wherever you are in life, everything starts in your mind, and nothing beats an optimistic attitude.