Sometimes the world can feel like an overwhelming place. Clouds can darken anyone’s horizons. Holding on to optimism is important for a healthy outlook on life.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are you optimistic about?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘What makes a tradition?’
When you look to the future, what are the highlights you see? What are you optimistic about?
Related questions: How is hope different from optimism? How can we maintain wonder? What is your retreat from the world? What amazes you?
A tip of the Intellectual Roundtable cap to the Edge.org series of books, which are a great source of inspiration for the Intellectual Roundtable. What Are You Optimistic About? is one of more than a dozen such compilations.
At any given moment, how do you decide what you will do? Maybe you will read a book, or play music, or pay bills, or make a meal. To help you with that decision, you might have an explicit (or maybe just a subconscious) list of priorities.
Setting priorities can be a tricky thing. You need a mix of short-term, medium-term, and long-term tasks or goals, and you might need to have some time set aside for no goals at all, for pure recreation or to recharge. But how do you determine what is most important, and how does that change from moment to moment?
How do you set priorities?
Related questions: How do you define success? How can we turn ideas into actions? What is important?
Giving someone gifts, whether it happens to be for a special occasion like a holiday or a birthday, or at a random time for no particular event, is a show of affection and also a show of materialism. Why are these two linked? Why is it necessary to give a thing to someone?
Why do we give gifts?
Related questions: Why do we like to receive gifts? What are our responsibilities to others? Why do we feel the need to belong? How can we maintain wonder?
Navigating today’s world can be confusing. It is not possible to verify everything you hear or read. To function, you need to trust some people and some sources. Which ones? How can you judge if a person is trustworthy? How can you tell if a headline, or an article, or a website, or an entire news source should be believed?
How do you know who to trust?
Related questions: How can you repair broken trust? What is real? How can you get someone to trust you? What is necessary to change your mind?
This time of year in the U.S. is filled with traditions, from a big turkey meal to trimming the tree to making resolutions. These traditions can be small and extremely personal, or common and prevalent throughout the culture. Some are rooted in religious beliefs, some are centered around family, and some are just for fun.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What makes a tradition?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘What are you optimistic about?’
But there is a larger question at work here: does a tradition have to be an annual event? Is it necessarily centered around a holiday? What is the difference between a tradition and a routine?
What makes a tradition?
Related questions: How do you make a tradition? What does it mean to be thankful? Where do shared ideas exist? How are patterns important?