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A Million Voices of Optimism

We ask people "What makes you Optimistic?"   One of our strategic goals is to stimulate and collect one million voices of optimism.

In this blog collection of optimism on the way to "A Million Voices of Optimism," members and subscribers of The Centre for Optimism can post what makes them optimistic and the answers from people they have asked. 

If you want to contribute to this valuable global resource, please email our COO Victor Perton for a free subscription or support our work by joining as a member.

  • Saturday, August 14, 2021 7:23 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    "I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can't make it through one door, I'll go through another door - or I'll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present."

    Rabindranath Tagore

  • Saturday, August 14, 2021 7:00 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    Arsen Ostrovsky wrote, "As the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords approaches next week, I have never been more hopeful, inspired or optimistic about the future of Israel's relations with the Arab world. This is a real friendship based on shared values and a mutual commitment to create more prosperous, peaceful and tolerant societies, both today and for future generations.

    "Peace is very much like a flower. Politicians and diplomats plant the seeds of peace, but ultimately, civil society, young leaders, educators and the business community are the ones who allow it to grow. That is what differentiates the Abraham Accords from past agreements—this peace is being led not by the politicians, but by the people on the ground."

  • Thursday, August 12, 2021 7:36 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    There’s a song that tells us to “accentuate the positive.” Philosopher Norman Vincent Peale wrote a best-selling book that encouraged us to use the “power of positive thinking” to get along in life. But now, at a time when too many of us are experiencing bouts of depression due to the pernicious coronavirus pandemic, the question is: what have I got to be optimistic about,” says Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

    “For one thing, there is a medical consensus that you’ll live a happier and longer life by remaining optimistic,” says Weber. And she backs it up not with anecdotes and glib sayings, but with real, authoritative research from the Boston University School of Medicine, which found that: “After decades of research, a new study links optimism and prolonged life. Researchers have found that individuals with greater optimism are more likely to live longer and to achieve ‘exceptional longevity,’ that is, living to age 85 or older.”

    More than 70,000 people participated in that study, in which the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health joined BU. They started by assessing their levels of optimism as well as the status of their health and then tracked them over periods of ten to thirty years. What they found was “that the most optimistic men and women demonstrated, on average, an 11 to 15 percent longer lifespan, and had 50-70 percent greater odds of reaching 85 years old compared to the least optimistic groups.”

    In a nutshell, optimists are people who have hope that everything will turn out alright and pessimists are those who have a negative view of life and that what can go wrong, will go wrong. But Dr. Laura Kubzansky at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health points out that “The power of optimism is not just having a sunny disposition but applying this mindset to make positive change.” She also explains that optimism can be inherited 25 to 30 percent of the time and, for those who might feel that they are not optimizing their optimistic inner selves, she offers advice.

    ·     Look for opportunities. When difficult events happen, turn your focus toward a more positive alternative. For example, if you are stuck waiting for an appointment, use this unexpected free time to call a friend or read a book. If an injury or sickness has derailed your usual workouts, focus on what you can do, like gentle stretching or using resistance bands. “These substitute activities can make you feel more positive and remind you that difficult circumstances will not necessarily continue, and you can overcome barriers to get there.”

    ·     Focus on your strengths. Here is an exercise from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Reflect on your personal strengths, like creativity, perseverance, kindness, curiosity. Choose one and plan how to use it today. For example, for perseverance, make a list of tasks you have found challenging recently, then try to tackle each one. If you choose curiosity, attempt an activity you’ve never tried before. Repeat this process every day for a week. You may use the same personal strength across multiple days or try using a different one each day. Another way to assess your character strengths is to take the free Values in Action (VIA) Survey at

    ·     Practice gratitude. Optimists often are thankful for what they have and share it with others. Keep a gratitude journal where you list the many gifts and blessings for which you are thankful, like your current health, a kind gesture you received, a great meal you enjoyed.

    ·     Create a mental image of your best possible self. Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years? This exercise helps you address three essential questions: What are you doing now? What is important to you? What do you care about and why?

  • Tuesday, August 10, 2021 8:35 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    Self-compassion and being mindful is not just about reducing stress and anxiety; it can increase our happiness, optimism, help us to thrive and flourish. You can do it anywhere as part of your life, which is why I love it.

  • Tuesday, August 10, 2021 7:38 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    Chicago Daily Herald Editorial: Forsaking demonization, embracing the power of optimism

    We awoke a couple of days ago to news in The Guardian that scientists think they may have detected signs of a looming collapse of the Gulf Stream, the Atlantic Ocean current that is one of the strongest on earth and one with monumental influence over our climate. It's collapse, whether in the next decade or two or sometime in the next few centuries, would be catastrophic.

    Not a cheerful way to climb out of bed. (And we hadn't even checked social media or the cable news yet for the day's unrelenting drumbeat of wildfires, pandemic, insurrection, racism, conspiracy and heartless villainy.)

    The atmosphere around us these days seems awash in negativity, demonization and victimization -- on all sides of the political spectrum. When it comes to cynicism, there are few innocents.

    But get out of our beds we must.

    And we urge the same for you.

    As 19th century psychologist and philosopher William James observed, "Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power."

    Cynics dwell in problems, anger and hopelessness. Optimists dwell in solutions, collaboration and hope.

    In doing so, cynics run in place. Every morning looks as bleak as the morning before.

    Optimists get things done. They not only enjoy a better sense of well-being; they create a better world.

    It is the way of the world that every day breaks with big problems and with great risk as well as high promise. But these are not addressed by living in them.

    We embrace the day and embrace too the day's challenges and opportunities.

    All of them can be tackled. All can be conquered.

    It begins by forsaking the day's despair. It begins by believing.

    "Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism," said author and blogger Bernard Beckett. "It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile. It can be blackened by fear and superstition."

    Many of us tend to blame others for our problems. Political parties and ideologists tend to blame the opposition. These days, we name-call and demonize.

    But these grievance reflexes are obstacles, not solutions.

    Optimism originates from within ourselves. And problems are solved with confidence and collaboration.

  • Monday, August 02, 2021 5:46 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    Eduard Petiška wrote, Pessimistic scenarios of the future are popular and always have been. By 700 BC, the Greek philosopher Hesiod lamented in Works and Days that the Golden Age for mankind had passed. Paleolithic patterns of thinking lead us to remember these negative messages. Recognizing danger was once necessary for survival, but now we create exaggerated anxiety over things our ancestors would have ignored. In a survey, more than 70% of respondents said they thought the world was getting worse, and only 5% stated that is was getting better. People are concerned about terrorism, war, immigrants, and the destruction of the environment.

    Newspaper headlines give us the impression that Doomsday is almost upon us.

    An objective look at the world finds the pessimism is unfounded. Instead, there is a reason to have a great deal of optimism.

    In his book The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley says that today's ordinary man has a higher quality of life than a king did in the past. When a person is in the mood for a certain kind of food, he can go to a variety of restaurants or shops. Therefore, he can access the service of more servants and products than the French court could at the time of its greatest glory.

    The situation regarding entertainment and healthcare is similar. From a medieval perspective, the current standard of living can be described as paradise on Earth. That's why people from other cultures want to live in Western countries. But why are living standards and prosperity rising? Ridley says it’s due to an exchange of products, services, ideas and the development of innovation. Ridley isn’t an idealist; he’s aware of current problems but believes they’ll be solved.

    The world has never been as safe as it is today - this is the central message of the book The Better Angels. Harvard professor Steven Pinker uses data analysis to demonstrate that, in the long run, murders and other crimes have fallen. Nowadays, in wars and other violent conflicts, deaths are at their lowest number in history. Less violence in the world may also be related to the fact that people are more intelligent.
    In addition, the current generation is more "moral" than the previous one in terms of decreasing promiscuity (the lowest since 1920) or alcohol and drug abuse

    Although we see many news reports on ecological catastrophes, it seems that humanity as a whole is more conscious and the general situation is gradually improving. The shrinking of the ozone layer has prompted an adequate response. We are seeing the first signs of improvement, and the ozone layer is returning to normal.

    Despite many terrible prophecies, from Malthusian predictions of overcrowding to the Limits to Growth, it turns out that people are not only aware of these problems, but are solving them as well. In countries around the world, environmental ministries have been established and non-profit organizations are calling for solutions to problems. The carbon intensity of the US economy has been declining for over half a century and CO2 emissions have also been declining worldwide. Most countries in the world have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls for emission reductions. The United Nations has adopted the Goals of Sustainable Development, which aim not only at improving the environment in general but also at improving the quality of life around the world.

    Global inequality decrease

    Inequality is an obstacle to society's development and well-being. While the standard of living in the West has risen for centuries, in other civilizations it has stagnated, causing significant global inequality that peaked in the 1970s. At that time, the situation was changing - globalization began, barriers to the free market were removed, and many development programs were introduced. Global inequality has fallen for more than a quarter of a century due to the decreasing number of people at risk of poverty.

    Developing countries are also getting the latest technology, so they don’t have to go through the whole development cycle that Western countries have gone through. In the jungle of Sri Lanka, for example, you can surf mobile internet faster than in many places in the West. The use of the Internet is leading to the spread of knowledge and the further elimination of geopolitical and social inequalities.

    The rich are helping

    There are pessimistic arguments that inequality within countries is increasing and wealthy people are only getting richer. This is true, but it is also necessary to add that these people often earn their money themselves. In contrast, wealthy dynasties (e.g. noble families) are losing power. In the US, over 60 percent of billionaires are self-made. It turns out that keeping wealth for generations is harder than earning it.
    Moreover, today’s generation of technological billionaires is altruistic. Many of them distribute their money between the needy perhaps more than any state or organization would. The accumulation of capital in the hands of individuals prompted an industrial revolution and led to the victory of the West; in contrast, communist egalitarianism proved to be ineffective. That's why Google's founder, Larry Page, would like to give Elon Musk all his possessions after his death to make his dreams for a better future come true. Mark Zuckerberg uses almost all his property to eliminate inequalities. Warren Buffett plans to give away 99% of his property. Bill Gates is giving away nearly all his fortune. The report published by his foundation shows how it is helping and how the world is getting better.

    These facts do not mean that there are only a few problems that need solutions. Objective data doesn’t help people in Syria or Sub-Saharan Africa or people in developed countries who suffer from social exclusion, illness, or poverty. We need to realize that if we don’t change our surroundings for the better, it could lead to even worse circumstances.
    Yet we should also keep in mind that being pessimistic can distort reality and lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. If most people think they’re living in a world that’s getting worse, then they’ll find that they are.

    The standard of living is rising

    The world is safer than ever

    The environment is getting better

  • Sunday, August 01, 2021 12:15 PM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    "What makes me #optimistic? I’m #grateful about #living another year in unprecedented times!"
    A beautiful expression of birthday #optimism in #lockdown from Peter Krejci!

  • Saturday, July 31, 2021 8:45 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

    Yehoshua November's "#God's #Optimism"

    Think of the optimism of God, then,

    how, every second, He recreates our lives–

    I who have not served Him honestly,

    and you who believe you have never served Him.

  • Saturday, July 31, 2021 7:29 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

  • Saturday, July 31, 2021 7:27 AM | Victor Perton (Administrator)

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