Passage 31. Choose Optimism
If you expect something to turn out badly, it probably will.
Pessimism is seldom disappointed.
But the same principle also works in reverse.
If you expect good things to happen, they usually do!
There seems to be a natural cause-and-effect relationship between optimism and success.
Optimism and pessimism are both powerful forces,
and each of us must choose which we want to shape our outlook and our expectations.
There is enough good and bad in everyone’s life—ample sorrow and happiness,
sufficient joy and pain—to find a rational basis for either optimism or pessimism.
We can choose to laugh or cry, bless or curse.
It’s our decision: From which perspective do we want to view life?
Will we look up in hope or down in despair?
I believe in the upward look.
I choose to highlight the positive and slip right over the negative.
I am an optimist by choice as much as by nature.
Sure, I know that sorrow exists.
I am in my 70s now, and I’ve lived through more than one crisis.
But when all is said and done, I find that the good in life far outweighs the bad.
An optimistic attitude is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.
The way you look at life will determine how you feel, how you perform,
and how well you will get along with other people.
Conversely, negative thoughts, attitudes,and expectations feed on themselves;
they become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Pessimism creates a dismal place where no one wants to live.
The only thing more powerful than negativism is a positive affirmation,
a word of optimism and hope.
One of the things I am most thankful for is the fact that
I have grown up in a nation with a grand tradition of optimism.
When a whole culture adopts an upward look, incredible things can be accomplished.
When the world is seen as a hopeful, positive place,
people are empowered to attempt and to achieve.
Passage 32. Why Should We Live with Such Hurry
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?
We are determined to be starved before we are hungry.
Men say that a stitch in time saves nine,
and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow.
As for work, we haven’t any of any consequence.
We have the Saint Vitus’ dance，and cannot possibly keep our heads still.
If I should only give a few pulls at the parish bellrope, as for a fire,
that is,without setting the bell, there is hardly a man on his farm
in the outskirts of Concord,notwithstanding that press of engagements
which was his excuse so many times this morning,nor a boy, nor a woman,
I might almost say, but would forsake all and follow that sound,
not mainly to save property from the flames,but,
if we will confess the truth, much more to see it burn, since burn it must,
and we, be it known, did not set it on fire—or to see it put out,
and have a hand in it, if that is done as handsomely;
yes, even if it were the parish church itself.
Hardly a man takes a half-hour’s nap after dinner,
but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks,
“What’s the news?“ as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels.
Some give directions to be waked every half-hour, doubtless for no other purpose;
and then, to pay for it, they tell what they have dreamed.
After a night’s sleep the news is as indispensable as the breakfast.
“Pray tell me anything new that has happened to a man anywhere on this globe“,
—and he reads it over his coffee and rolls,
that a man has had his eyes gouged out this morning on the Wachito River;
never dreaming the while that he lives in the dark unfathomed mammoth cave of this world,
and has but the rudiment of an eye himself.
Passage 33. A Woman’s Tears
“Why are you crying?“ he asked his Mom.
“Because I’m a woman.“ she told him.
“I don’t understand,“ he said.
His Mom just hugged him and said, “And you never will ... “
Later the little boy asked his father, “Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?“
“All women cry for no reason.“ was all his Dad could say.
The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.
Finally he put in a call to God;
when God got on the phone, the man said, “God, why do women cry so easily?“
God said,“When I made woman she had to be special.
I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world;
yet gentle enough to give comfort.
I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth
and the rejection that many times comes from her children.
I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up
and take care of her family through fatigue and sickness without complaining.
I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances,
even when her child has hurt them very badly.
I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults
and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart.
I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife,
but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.
I gave her a tear to shed.
It’s hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed.
It’s her only weakness.
It’s a tear for mankind.“
Passage 34. Laziness
Laziness is a sin: everyone knows that.
We have probably all had lectures pointing out that laziness is immoral,
that it is wasteful, and that lazy people will never amount to anything in life.
But laziness can be more harmful than that,
and it is often caused by more complex reasons than the simple wish to avoid work.
Some people who appear to be lazy are suffering from much more serious problems.
They may be so distrustful of their fellow workers
that they are unable to join in any group task for fear of being laughed at
or fear of having their ideas stolen.
These people who seem lazy may be deadened by a fear of failure
that prevents fruitful work.
Or other sorts of fantasies may prevent work:
some people are so busy planning,
sometimes planning great deals of fantastic achievements,
that they are unable to deal with whatever“lesser“ work is on hand.
Still other people are not avoiding work,strictly speaking;
they are nearly procrastinating—rescheduling their day.
Laziness can actually be helpful.
Like procrastinators,some people look lazy when they are really thinking,
We should all remember that some great scientific discoverise occurred by chance.
Newton wasn’t working in the orchard when the apple hit him
and he devised the theory of gravity.
All of us would like to have someone “lazy“ build the car or stove we buy,
particularly if that “laziness“
—were caused by the worker’s taking time to check each step of his work
and to do his job right.
And sometimes,being “lazy“, that is,
taking time off for a rest is good for the overworked students or executive.
Taking a rest can be particularly helpful to the athlete who is trying too hard
or the doctor who’s simply working himself overtime too many evenings at the clinic.
So be careful when you’re tempted to call someone lazy.
That person may be thinking,
resting or planning his or her next book.
Passage 35. Owning Books
We enjoy reading books that belong to us much more than if they are borrowed.
A borrowed book is like a guest in the house;
it must be treated with punctiliousness, with a certain considerate formality.
You must see that it sustains no damage; it must not suffer while under your roof.
But your own books belong to you;
you treat them with that affectionate intimacy that annihilates formality.
Books are for use, not for show;
you should own no book that you are afraid to mark up,
or afraid to place on the table, wide open and face down.
A good reason for marking favorite passages in books
is that this practice enables you to remember more easily the significant sayings,
to refer to them quickly, and then in later years,
it is like visiting a forest where you once blazed a trail.
Everyone should begin collecting a private library in youth;
the instinct of private property can here be cultivated with every advantage and no evils.
The best of mural decorations is books;
they are more varied in color and appearance than any wallpaper,
they are more attractive in design,
and they have the prime advantage of being separate personalities,
so that if you sit alone in the room in the firelight,
you are surrounded with intimate friends.
The knowledge that they are there in plain view is both stimulating and refreshing.
Books are of the people, by the people, for the people.
Literature is the immortal part of history;
it is the best and most enduring part of personality.
Book-friends have this advantage over living friends;
you can enjoy the most truly aristocratic society in the world whenever you want it.
The great dead are beyond our physical reach,
and the great living are usually almost as inaccessible.
But in a private library,
you can at any moment converse with Socrates or Shakespeare or Carlyle or Dumas or Dickens.
And there is no doubt that in these books you see these men at their best.
They "laid themselves out," they did their ultimate best to entertain you,
to make a favorable impression.
You are necessary to them as an audience is to an actor;
only instead of seeing them masked,
you look into their innermost heart of heart.