• Mark Olivito

Optimism and Waking Up: Lessons from a 6 Year Old

Updated: Jul 1

“Outlooks” matter in life, and Optimism is one of those force multipliers. How do you know if you’re leaning to the glass always being half full, with a brighter future than present?

A simple tool from the Old School to gauge your Outlook: The wake-up test.

How easy is it for you to drag yourself out of bed? Hard? Painless? Or, “can’t wait!”

My son is generally not an early riser, at least by my standards, waking up at 7 am.

On Thanksgiving and Christmas however, all bets are off. He’ll be up at 5 am, the LATEST. He won’t just wake up 2 hours early, he JUMPS into my bed and announces the day, says “HAPPY THANKSGIVING” in a mild roar and can barely contain his excitement.

The reasons are pretty simple for him springing out of bed

  • Mom’s “Special french toast,” made a few times a year, certainly not your everyday meal.

  • Salvatore the Elf on the Shelf comes out, signifying no just Christmas around the corner, but daily little surprises where he will show up in odd places. The excitement of Dominic running around the house looking for Salvatore is hysterical, and fun to watch.

  • Traditions that grow and evolve each year. Memories that build on memories. “Daddy, remember last year……” And his own I-phone that captures and journals the pictures and memories, New School style.

I can acknowledge that life gets more complicated as you grow older. Bills pile up, relationships get more complex, and various stages of life are arguably more stressful than the life of a 6 year old.

Call me naive, but I will argue the “life gets complicated” argument with age. Isn’t life all relative?

  • Is the stress of a mortgage payment or difficult boss, worse than the anxiety of getting on a bus where the town bully causes mayhem?

  • Is the difficult boss harder than a teacher that may pay little attention to a struggling student?

  • Are “toxic” co-workers that are forever negative more morale killing than the kids that exclude others from the playground game of tag?

Yes, exaggerated examples to illustrate a point.

The 6 year old finds a way to bounce out of bed, when there is something to look forward too. Adults do the same, when they focus on similar reasons to look forward to something.

EVERYONE has something to look forward too, to let OPTIMISM take over.

  • A chance for a productive day and great outcomes. A great sales call you’ve been preparing for. A presentation to your team.

  • An opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life. Thanking and complementing your local barista. Asking someone some great questions that allow you to learn something and form a bond.

  • Making that new connection that could open a door to a job if you’re out of work, or an up-lifting conversation which adds a bounce in your step.

  • Another day to move closer to your potential, to get better at your craft, and help others….

In other words, every day is an opportunity to bounce out of bed. Find the excitement and optimism outside of annual events. The excitement of the holidays are there for the taking. EVERYDAY.

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