Style Observer

THE OPTIMISTS - Mina Robertson

Business Analyst: Group Strategy and Innovation at Sagicor Group Jamaica

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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It seemed the right thing to do ahead of diving straight into the 'silly season', and in this time of incredible love and hate, confidence and fear, fake news and alternative truths, to hear shared voices of optimism. SO asked the question: What's your take on optimism?

The expression “everything happens for a reason” has become a form of punctuation — often appearing to be said with just enough conviction needed to convince the person saying it. It has become such a regular addition to discourse, like the polite conversation filler “how are you?” that isn't actually intended to elicit its honest response; that it seems indisputable and whosoever dares to challenge the assertion may be declared treasonous to humankind. It was after a difficult summer of a near loss followed by a senseless tragedy, however, that I began to resent the statement. I felt that it was diminishing our worry and our pain in the name of a higher purpose that we were too small to see just yet. As I reflected more on the idea of purpose I came to understand that not all 'reasons' will be proportionate or holistically justify 'everything' and there simply might not be a reason that slaps you in the face and makes it all worth it- that is not the business of the Universe and it is not my business to get all the answers. I became grounded by the understanding that although some things might not ever make sense to me, I must decide to bring purpose to everything and create whatever value I can from my experiences. Enter: optimism.

Optimism is not the passive penchant for thinking that things will just work out, nor is it delusion; optimism is an active, deliberate sense of being rooted in the belief that purpose will be created. Optimism is wisdom. Wisdom as the nest of intelligence. Intelligence is the capacity to empathise. Empathy is fed by understanding. Understanding comes from experiences and it is optimism that enables us to extract the most out of our experiences in the pursuit of finding and creating purpose.

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