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.
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 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.
From reader Karen:
Even the most well-adjusted person can feel exhausted at times. Our world can be overwhelming, both spiritually and emotionally as well as physically.
When the pressures and stresses of everyday life get to be too much for you, where do you go — literally or figuratively — for respite? Do you have a haven or a sanctuary that is a welcoming place, where you can escape and recharge your emotional batteries?
What is your retreat from the world, and how does it help you?
Related questions: Why do we put up with unhappiness? What is emotional well-being? How can we maintain wonder?
There’s a monotonous nature to much of our lives: We get up; we go to work (which often requires a set of reoccurring procedures); we return home to carry out a patterned set of tasks and pastimes; we go to sleep; repeat. Ask someone, “What have you been up to?” and the answer given back is often something along the lines of “Same old, same old.”
Are the regular, patterned parts of our life where our essence is? Or are unique moments what give life meaning?
Dear reader: How important is the repetition in our lives?
Related Questions: What makes you you? What is important? How can we turn ideas into actions?
Our culture has changed tremendously over the last few hundred years. Our life expectancy, literacy, access to different foods, access to different places, how much information we have and the way we process it, the technology that supports us, what we know about the world and how we interact with it.
What have these differences done to us, genetically, physically, mentally, emotionally? How have we changed?
Related questions: What is time? How have we changed the world? How much does our past determine our future?
When I meet someone new, I like to ask, “Who are you?”
Most people provide their occupation as an answer, which is perfectly alright. Others share different aspects of their life that are important to their identity (e.g. if they are parents, their hobbies, something they are proud of). I especially enjoy those replies. However, a small number look at me in a weird, somewhat offended way, as if I have asked a deeply personal question on our first encounter.
I’ll phrase this week’s question somewhat differently. Either abstractly or in a real practical sense what makes you you?
Related questions: How important is the repetition in our lives? How much of our thoughts are our own? What are our responsibilities to others?