Optimist or Pessimist?

We are halfway through 2022. It may be hard to believe. This year which had been “new” only a few months ago, is hastening toward its conclusion!

It’s a time now to re-look at the year and evaluate where we are: goals achieved, tasks completed, and missions accomplished. Much more still remains to be done for us all.

A true story: In my sophomore year of High School, I competed in the Optimist Service Club’s “Oratorical Contest” featuring forensic speech, Original Oratory involving some 40,000+ other contestants, all boys, ages 15 to 16, from across the United States and Canada. The rules were simple enough: present a 5-minute memorized speech, beginning at the local club level, and do your best to communicate well.

This was an Optimist Club opportunity. Optimism is defined this way by Merriam-Webster: “an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.” Pessimism is its opposite: “an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome.”

The Optimist Club speech tournament involved many young optimists! The speech title for everyone in 1968 was this: “The Golden Opportunities of Youth.” Optimistic to the core!

To advance to any “next” level in the tournament, a competitor had to win first place in *every* speech contest; these club speech tournaments occurred about once every month. To engage in this series of events was a challenging assignment for a 16-year-old young man in normal times, but these times were not “normal.” Rather, these times were filled with pessimistic dread throughout our nation and world. 

(I had competed in the oratorical contest in my freshman year, 1967, and was not able to make the final round. While I had advanced to the semi-finals, I “bombed out” there, and was not able to compete in the final round.

‘Happy to say: the results of 1968 were far better!)

Why was this nation’s era not a “normal” time? The years of 1967 and 1968 presented multiple challenges for high school students for several reasons: the war in Vietnam was dragging d on, with nightly reports on the TV of the number of soldiers killed that day, both from the US and the Vietnamese side. College campuses were seething with angry students against the war. Unreal levels of stress on society were everywhere, affecting all ages. Younger people, like me, were strangely moved, since many at that time were to go to war when needed. Many were called, and many were killed.

Yes, our nation was at war. It was devastating for thousands of families. The Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC lists nearly 60,000 deaths of American servicemen.

In 1968, I was classified as 1-A, and was on a high priority list, designated “next in line” to be drafted, as the war’s needs might require. This war was about twenty years old by the time it ended in 1975. Officially, the war spanned from November 1, 1955 until April 30, 1975. I was not drafted; the war ended about one month before I was to go.

All that to say this: in dark times, whether you are an optimist or not, it’s easy to fall into the abyss of negativity if you are not careful.

Creative Team Publishing, www.creativeteampublishing.com, is interested and wants to publish optimistic and encouraging works from authors. Negative outlooks accomplish nothing of value in the long haul; yes, we will deal with truth; we will not hide it, and we understand that truth often includes strife, challenges, conflicts, and more. But we will *not* stay bound to negativity. We will move through conflicts with the perspective of winning!

Winston Churchill, during World War II, was fond of stating: “Never give up! Never surrender! Never give up!”

In what camp do you reside? In the final analysis, are you an Optimist or a Pessimist? If “positive” is how and why you write, and optimism motivates the choices you make in how you live your life, how you influence others, and if you want to contribute to the good, right, and true, then we would be excited to review you writing! Please send to: glen.aubrey@ctrg.com.



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