Occasionally I need to refer back to famous optimists at those times where my glass gets a bit below half-full. Today was one of those days (triggered by the recent financial market crisis and the resulting 780 point drop in the Dow). For days such as this, I keep a list of my 10 favorite quotes.
I know the roller coaster will bottom out and we’ll be heading back up (that’s what history tells us), but in the meantime it was good to re-review my list:
- The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose – Kahlil Gibran
- The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection – Thomas Paine
- A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them – Leonard Louis Levinson
- The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true – James Branch Cabell
- Optimism is the foundation of courage – Nicholas Murray Butler
- A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties – Harry Truman
- Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier – Colin Powell
- For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else – Sir Winston Churchill
- You see things; and you say “why?” But I dream of things that never were, and I say “Why not?” – George Bernard Shaw
- The tenth is actually a story my old boss used to tell just about once a month; it’s about two boys who one beautiful day were exploring their neighbor’s farm and came upon an empty barn that smelled of manure – the first boy said, “we got to get out of here, this smells horrible“, but the second boy said “Oh boy, this is great – there must be horses around!“. Yes, true optimists can even find a silver lining from manure!