Optimism Isn’t Always Easy

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Published by Robert W. Huntley, CFP®, CHFC®, Founder & Wealth Advisor

Would you choose your kid’s high school basketball game over an invitation to the White House?

Optimism takes on many forms. Sometimes it’s not so obvious.

Early in our marriage Linda and I were members at Second Baptist Church in Houston, TX. Dr. Ed Young had stepped in as pastor 4 or 5 years prior to our arrival.

I remember one Sunday a story Dr. Young told that really stayed with me.

He had been serving as the head of the Southern Baptist Convention and as such had received an invitation to an event being hosted at the White House by then-President Ronald Reagan.

He turned it down.

The reason wasn’t political or anything like that.

The reason he turned down the invitation was that one of his 3 boys had a high school basketball game that same weekend and he wasn’t willing to miss one of his boys’ games.

Of course, that was a great illustration of priorities when it comes to decision making. Generally speaking, my priorities are God, spouse, kids, vocation, and ministry, in that order.

It certainly made a statement to me about my own priorities. At the time I had 1 young son, but I certainly decided to prioritize my own decision making going forward in a similar fashion.

So how does optimism appear in this story? 

It’s the idea that logic doesn’t always have to triumph. You can do illogical things and trust that it’s the right thing to do.

It was not “logical” to skip a once in a lifetime chance to visit the White House for one of multiple high school basketball games. However, it was a priority.

Over the years I observed from a distance how each of his young boys grew into fine young men. I always remembered their father’s message and the priorities represented in those words.

There was no guarantee it would “pay off,” but it was, in his value structure, the obvious choice.

My life verse is Proverbs 16:3

“Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans shall be established.”

It’s the idea “don’t sweat the outcome of everything.” Focus on doing the right thing and doing it well. Otherwise, trust that all will work out in the end. To me, that’s an optimistic outlook.

Optimism is the only sane way to go through life. Pessimism is easy. Optimism is not. We get beat up by life’s events and are surrounded by negative people and messages on all sides. It takes an act of the will to choose how you’ll walk through life.

In a sentence, here it is:

Life is something that’s either happening to us, or for us.

How you view your world and decision making is a choice.

Choose wisely.

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