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Cameron Algie on  Joy and Optimism

by Cameron Algie

With only three letters, ‘joy’ is one of the most concise and simple words in the English language, stemming from old French and Latin meaning glad or rejoice.

An inner feeling of joy can be expressed by outward feelings of great pleasure and happiness. These include such qualities as exaltation, bliss, charm, delight and glee, to name but a few. After all, approximately 48 synonyms of joy are found in ‘Thesaurus .com’.

In my view, any comprehension of what joy means, which is important in expressing optimism, assumes that we accept and understand the importance of our senses.

Sight, smell, sound, taste, touch and that little-understood sense loosely called – the sixth sense involving intuition. These senses connect us to the world around us and provide a foundation for understanding ourselves.

As the Dalai Lama said when asked what the main elements required to achieve human happiness he said, he “to love yourself and have a goal”.  Loving yourself is, of course, not self-adulation but respecting and valuing our individuality and uniqueness - such amazing simplicity allows us to get our values in proportion.

However, I feel two other words need to sit alongside and externalise joy. They are ‘kindness’ and ‘respect’ for others. 

It is well understood that many human qualities and responses arise from a lack of confidence, lack of self-esteem, or perhaps negative early influences.

 Appreciating these differences reinforces the need for humane, respectful and democratic leadership that respects human differences.

In setting goals, many of us worry about matters we cannot control, which is a great cause of anxiety, stress and disharmony.

We need to turn back to the Dalai Lama’s philosophy and ask, what are we really worrying about?

If you cannot solve a problem, then put the issue aside, or if within your capability, take the first steps to put your priorities in order and do something. Worry usually concerns images of a repetitive, negative nature made to anticipate potential, not actual, threats. 

As the late ABC Broadcaster Peter Evans used to say during his morning radio programs, ‘Not a worry in the world.’ In the ‘Lion King, the use of the Swahili term, ‘hakuna matata,’ meaning ’no troubles or no worries,’ is also another great adage.

Using such mantras daily when aspiring for optimism is a good idea.


About Cameron

Cameron Algie was born and raised in West Gippsland, Victoria, and in the normal course of things, may have gone on to remain a farmer to follow the family tradition. However, in the summer of 1968-69, when walking through fields where a full harvest moon hung low, this golden orb suddenly disappeared. Within a few seconds, the moon reappeared, and there were no clouds in the sky. This mysterious event became the portent of future drama. Cameron was diagnosed with a degenerative retinal disease with the rather droll name of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), with a prognosis leading to inevitable blindness. Despite his vision impairment, after studying Law at Monash University, Cameron became Chief Executive Officer for the industry body representing Cooperative Housing Societies. In his Government Relations and Industry Development role, he created an environment where funding for home loans to this sector grew from $3 million in 1981 to over $680 million nine years later. During this period, Cameron worked with his wife to establish a Society for RP research. In recognition of this and his Housing Society work, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1993. Turning back to the Law, Cameron conducted major test cases in nuisance and equitable interests in property, becoming a Member of Planning Panels Victoria, the ministerial advisory body on planning matters.In a final career change, he later became a Facilitator with Vision Australia, where his life experiences and those of clients now form the basis of this book.


"What makes me optimistic? I can be self-sufficient. I can achieve things. I can do.   Coupled now with learned knowledge, I'm as competent as anybody. So I'm not put off by difficulties. My view is, "How can I do it differently?" And I do have to do it differently, and I have to think about my mobility." (Cameron Algie 2022)


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