“Optimists enrich the present, enhance the future, challenge the improbable and attain the impossible” says William Arthur Ward.
What a lovely thought! Actually what a lovely several thoughts!
I have always believed that I am a ‘realistic optimist’. I remember sitting in my English Major class in college in the early 70’s and making that statement, in front of the whole class, to the teacher (who I still consider one of my closest friends some 45 years down the line), and her looking at me as though I had ‘lost the plot’ when she said “Exactly what does that mean?”
To be completely fair, I have been asked that very same question many times since then and explained as I will here.
Let me put it this way (and I am going to give my beliefs around South Africa here as an example), I have great faith in South Africa. I think that we have huge potential to grow as a nation, to join together in making this country the best that it can be. I believe that if we all work together and all do our bit, that we can eradicate poverty, crime and corruption. That is the optimist in me talking. The reality of course is that we may very well grow but that will be a huge climb because unfortunately the fact of the matter is that not all members of the nation will be ‘pulling’ in the same direction. Not all will be working to eradicate poverty because some will be stealing the food/opportunity/ money for education etc. right out of the hands of those poor people. Not all will be working to eradicate crime and corruption, because many will be actually working very hard in their chosen professions of crime and corruption! That’s the realist in me talking.
So whilst I am very enthusiastic about the potential of the country I am also acutely aware of the challenges that face us all if we are to get it right.
Thing is though, although I am very aware of the challenges, I am also inspired enough to want to do something to make the whole thing work. I am still prepared to ‘do my bit’ to make a difference and to motivate and perhaps even inspire others to also do their bit, no matter how small or how ‘little’ that bit is, because you see – all the ‘little’ bits will at some point join up to become a ‘big’ bit and that ‘big’ bit will make a huge difference and that ‘huge difference’ will ‘enrich the present, enhance the future, challenge the improbable and attain the impossible’.
As much as the reality is that there will always be those who are pessimistic about the future, the reality is also that the impossible can be obtained, if everyone ‘Chips in’ and does their ‘little’ bit.