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The Wise Ones on Kindness and Optimism

A kind tweet from Debby Lissaur prompted us to assemble the wisdom we have collected on kindness and optimism.

Diane Kilkenny, IACCM

"What makes me optimistic?  That random acts of human kindness come from the places you least expect them at the times you need them most!"

Debby Lissaur, Chief Positivity Instigator at Optimism, Inc.

"I am optimistic for the future when I see random acts of kindness, and when I am blessed with meaningful, hope-filled conversations with random strangers. No matter how bleak things seem, it is but a passing moment in time. Humanity always prevails in the end."


Louisa Keck

"What makes me optimistic are finding the small pockets of kindness and good in day to day life. Appreciating the moments that make me smile and the ones that take my breath away. Feeling gratitude for the people in my life and excited about the life I get to create with them."  

Nicola Hepenstall, Board Member, South Gippsland water

"What makes me optimistic? I know that I can change people’s lives by doing small acts of kindness. It’s often the little things that matter the most and I can do that each and every day!"

Read "Optimism in the Australian Water Industry"

Karen Stanford, Teacher

"Being an optimist I am lucky enough to see hope everywhere. Inspiring people following their dreams, people being kind to each other and as a teacher, the children give me reason to be optimistic every day"

Michelle Clement

"Humans being kind to one another is one of the sources of my optimism. It's also something that I look forward to every day."

Bishop Philip Huggins

"What makes me optimistic is that if we are attentive to what we let ourselves think about, it will shape the words that we use so they'll all be poetry, and our actions will create beauty, they will be truthful, and they will be kind"

Christian Prayers for Optimism

Christina Pagano, Pagano and Company Public Relations

“I do remain confident in the basic goodness of the citizens of the world, most of whom wake up in the morning, and regardless of where they live or under what circumstances, aim to do the best they can in the course of the day.  And in many cases, execute remarkable acts of kindness.  I see that in New York City every day.”

Marcel Schwantes, Chief Human Officer, Leadership from the Core

"What makes me optimistic: That the business world is slowly, but surely, shifting toward a kinder form of conscious capitalism that benefits all stakeholders, not just shareholders. The idea that putting people ahead of profit, and using business for the good of all humanity, brings me hope and optimism for the future."

Mimi Kwa, Presenter and MC

Optimism and kindness are contagious. They are good for the heart and soul. They improve heart function, overall health and well-being and they cost you nothing. Your reasons for spreading positivity and kindness are unimportant. Do it selfishly to help your physical and mental health. Or do it selflessly and altruistically. The result is the same. So just do it.”

Deborah Spratling

"Optimism for me is hoping that whatever life throws at me I have the ability to bounce back from it. I recognise that I have the choice on how I interpret a situation or experience and that old early conditioned self-critical and self-defeating thoughts, no longer have any hold or power over me. I choose now to be kinder and more self-compassionate."

Elizabeth Lim

“I believe helping those around us see the world in a more optimistic light during difficult situations, puts the kindness in humankind and sustains the peace and tranquillity we all deserve in our lives.”

“His eternal optimism, kindness and competitiveness inspired us always to reach higher.”

Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents and Chairman Tucker Link on T. Boone Pickins


Jodie Ginsberg, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship. 

"In a world in which it's easy to feel bombarded by the negative, I am constantly uplifted by the stories of those striving to make the world a better place - through small acts of kindness and grand acts of sacrifice. Human beings are essentially good. Knowing that is enough to champion the case for optimism."

Diksha Dutta

"Optimism is hard-work, but it is also magic. I made it a habit.  Soon there were a series of events that made me believe that magic happens to those who combine hard work with kindness, positivity and optimism."

Sonia McDonald, Leadership Author and Speaker

"Optimistic leadership is about being brave, kind and courageous as a leader. To be optimistic means knowing that we can overcome anything. The power of being focused on being true and kind to oneself and others is leadership."

Joseph S. Nye, former Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University

“Remember, in the words of the song, the best things in life are free: a kind word;  a gentle kiss from someone you love; a slanting shaft of afternoon sunlight coming in the window; a green shoot in Spring; a snowflake on your sleeve in Winter. All you have to do is remember to slow down and smell the flowers.”

Libby Mears, CEO, Leisure Networks

"I am optimistic when I see the strength of communities who have overcome adversity, seeing people included who are usually excluded and when I see people willing to display gentleness, empathy, compassion and kindness."

Geetashree Deka Gupta FRSA

"What makes me optimistic?  Every human core is capable of non-judgmental warmth, empathy and kindness."

Lori Lewis

"Helping others without expecting anything in return creates eternal optimism. One small act of kindness serves as a reminder we are never alone, and how we truly are here to give, not to receive."

“Optimistic, brilliant, diplomatic and kind, Steve led by bringing out the very best qualities of those around him.”

Ron Richard on Steven Minter

Fi Bendall, Chief Executive Officer at Bendalls Group

“In an era where people’s mistrust of government and business is at all-time high. Where we as people simply don’t believe and at times don't believe in each other, optimism needs to thrive. But how? Humans need hope and hope needs humans. The most amazing stories of human kindness, and warmth still permeate this “mistrusting world” we live in.  In a world crisis, everyday heroes rise to the top in their kindness to others.  In terror on our streets, people rush to help people.  On the street look around you for daily inspiration to be optimistic…only today I saw people on the street rushing to help an old lady with her groceries that had spilt all over the sidewalk in Manhattan.  The human being still embodies hope and optimism to drive and change our world for better.  The more technology speeds at us, the more we need to touch and feel human kindness. Kindness breeds optimism, and optimism breeds hope. We have to hold on to that as our pessimism and mistrust is a weakness, our optimism and belief is our true power  and empowerment.”

Stephen Cornelissen, CEO, Mercy Health Australia

“Leadership is a capability that exists in every person. We see so many examples of it each and every day, from walking down the street, seeing our colleagues at work, watching the news or witnessing acts of great kindness and/or courage. The unassuming people who undertake these acts are those I find infectiously optimistic; ordinary people doing what essentially should be ordinary things but doing them extraordinarily well. These are the people who go about creating change for themselves and others in a way that really matters."

Victor Perton

Ancient meditation practices like the “Loving Kindness” meditation and related compassion meditations are particularly beneficial.  Compassion meditation strengthens the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the brain’s circuits for optimism, joy and happiness.  The benefits are apparent right from the beginning of meditation practice and they increase with time spent.

By opening your heart and mind, meditation provides lasting feelings of peace and serenity while creating tremendously positive changes in your life. Staying positive, and its array of life-transforming benefits, can be easily learned and integrated into your life starting right now!

Loving Kindness Meditations

Meditations Meditation and Optimism

Pico Iyer

“So why am I an optimist? Partly because I’ve been working in the mainstream media for 35 years now, and I know not to trust it. It’s always a single act of brutality that captures headlines, while a hundred acts of everyday kindness are ignored, and more and more, in the global neighborhood, our “news” is just the equivalent of small-town gossip. We’re living in the age of Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama and more charitable efforts than ever before, but it’ll always be the Las Vegas gunman or the ISIS operative with a knife who knows how to dominate our attention. My optimism comes from a deeper source, though, than simply knowing that what we hear and read isn’t a fair register of what is really happening. As a traveller, I witness everyday people whose lives are much more nuanced and often brighter than our notions of them."

Turn Down the News (members and subscribers)


Rabbi James M. Bennett

"This is the candle of our faith, our hope, our #ptimism, our action, our willingness to remember the prophet Micah’s words: 

“Do justly, love kindness and walk humbly with God.”

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