“I used to be an optimist, but with the state of the world right now I don’t think I can be optimistic anymore.”
Just yesterday a stranger shared this sentiment with me when he learned I had written a book on optimism. And I wish that it was the first time I heard that statement, but it’s all too common these days. Can you relate? Is your optimism challenged at times by the terrible stories on the news, the hardships in your community, the difficulties your friends and family are experiencing? I know mine is. It’s hard to be optimistic when the world seems to be in despair.
In uncertain times, which seem more and more prevalent each year, and being reminded regularly of despair of the world, the pain and needs in our communities, the way that judgments and exclusion prevail in place of acceptance and inclusion, it is easy to feel pessimistic for the world, and a bit helpless to change anything.
Which is why, now more than ever, we NEED to be optimistic. We need to believe that better things are possible, because that is the only way we’ll be motivated to change it. And then we need to be the ones that roll up our sleeves and take action to work towards clarity, positivity, and solutions that leave our world a bit better. A group of concerted people willing to change the world are the only thing that will.
I know for myself and many of the people in my life, it’s easy to feel like changing the world is too big of a task. If I don’t have the resources of the Gates Foundation, or the influence of Oprah, how can I possibly make a significant impact on the world?
This is when I reflect on one of my favorite quotes of all time by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The beauty of this quote by Emerson, and the reality of what it means to leave the world a bit better, is that it doesn’t have to be on a grand global scale. Changing the world, and leaving it better, can start with one person, one small square of soil, one idea. It starts with you. The ways that you and I can leave the world a bit better are countless, and all incredibly important.
What comes to mind when you read that quote? How are you inspired to leave a positive mark on the world? Are you planting a garden that brings beauty or food to your home or your neighborhood? Awesome! I know that my neighbors are always delighted when I bring them tomatoes or zucchini from my garden, not simply because of the food but because of the connection that comes from it as well.
Are you raising a kind child? A child that wants accept and include others? Beautiful! I strive to have a childlike approach to everyone I encounter because children don’t have the same judgments or preconceived notions we do, they just want to love and accept.
Are you passionate about a cause and working hard to change laws or provide for those in need or make a lasting improvement on a social condition? Bravo! Everyone on our team at Davine has something they are passionate about – from stopping human trafficking to providing relief work after natural disasters to ensuring everyone has access to clean water (you can check out the organizations we’re passionate about on our team page).
Are you sure to always have a variety of tea and coffee and hot chocolate on hand so that, no matter who stops by, you’re able to offer them a comforting drink and a listening ear? Perfect! So often, it’s those seemingly small gestures that mean the most to us, and can remind us during our darkest moments, that we have people around us who care about our well-being.
Click to tweet: So often, it’s those seemingly small gestures that mean the most to us, and can remind us during our darkest moments, that we have people around us who care about our well-being.
April seems like the perfect month to be focused on leaving the world a bit better because it’s about spring, rejuvenation, and meaningful holidays like Easter and celebrating Christ’s love for the world, Earth Day – raising awareness and mindfulness for taking care of our planet – and Take Your Kids to Work Day, which is about educating and inspiring our youth.
We hope you’ll join us this month in focusing, and remembering, that Optimism Is Leaving the World a Bit Better.
The Davine Team