Thursday, April 22, 2010

Expecting Ponies

“My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.” –Montaigne

There were two boys. One was an optimist; the other was a pessimist. The pessimist was left in a room piled high with every imaginable toy a boy could ever desire. The optimist was left in a room piled high with horse manure. After awhile, the pessimist was found sitting in a corner of the room, the toys untouched. When asked why he wasn’t playing with the toys, he replied sullenly, “Why bother? They will just break anyway.” The optimist was discovered laughing with glee and digging like crazy in the horse manure. When asked about his strange behavior, he exclaimed without missing a beat, “I know there’s a pony in here somewhere!”

Recently I was anticipating an event I was going to attend. I was not looking forward to it. I was pretty sure I would be bored. I didn’t think I would fit in with that particular crowd, so there was not going to be anyone for me to talk to. I thought about ways I could justify not going, or excuses for leaving early. By late afternoon, I felt a headache coming on, and that added to my conviction that the evening was going to be a major drag.

As you’ve probably guessed, the evening was a total delight. The event itself was stimulating and enjoyable. The people were friendly and easy to talk to. The time flew and I came home pleased and excited about new things I had experienced and new connections I had made.

I had wasted a lot of time prejudging the event in a negative way. I spent the time leading up to the event in a bad mood and fretting, when I could have just as easily chosen to anticipate having a good time and enjoyed my afternoon.

Even if the evening had turned out to be less than excellent, I could have chosen to make the best of it and have fun anyway. I could have kept an open mind and perhaps discovered something or someone interesting. At the very least, I could have chosen to be at peace in the present moment.

The optimist, after all, did not find a pony in the pile of horse manure. But he had a joyous time looking.

1 comment:

  1. I like to call my moments of pessimism "realism," but that doesn't make me any happier. And truth be told, they are still moments of pessimism. Thanks for the great story as a reminder to be more optimistic. Although I don't want to spend the day digging through manure only to find no pony, I suspect it is a tad better than sitting in a room full of toys and not playing with a single one!


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