Fortunately, the alternative to optimism is not pessimism, which can be equally delusional. What we need here is some realism, or the simple admission that, to paraphrase a bumper sticker, "stuff happens," including sometimes very, very bad stuff. We don't have to dwell incessantly on the worst-case scenarios — the metastasis, the market crash or global pandemic — but we do need to acknowledge that they could happen and prepare in the best way we can. Some will call this negative thinking, but the technical term is sobriety. - Barbara Ehrenreich

I couldn't help nodding in agreement over the Time Magazine article I read last weekend entitled Overrated Optimism: The Peril of Positive Thinking. I was one of the many who have fallen prey to the thriving industry of the so-called thought reform to overcome negative thinking. Yes, I read The Secret, made my own vision board and kept convincing myself that I will soon have that pearl white Ranger Rover on my driveway very soon. It was encouraging and exciting at first, believing in the power of the mind and what it can achieve.

But reality kept kicking in and slamming it's doors in front of my face. It was not very long when I came to realize that becoming a millionaire and paying off my debt is not a walk in the park. It cannot be willed into extinction and my mind cannot sway the thoughts of my creditors. My positive mind cannot succeed without the labor of my hands. It was a good way to escape and forget my problems for awhile but later on the truth will sneak up on you. Like most fads, this optimism phenomenon has turned more into a marketing tool than an answered prayer to all its patrons.

It is not bad to dream big and hope for something better. But we have to work hard to achieve our goals and be realistic about our expectations. We have to be committed to plan ahead and take action. For planning without building is just plain useless. It will not lead you anywhere. Being positive is not an end but the means to act and grow and build our aspirations. In my case, I wanted to be financially free. And it is plain laziness to keep projecting good vibes everyday without putting much effort on how to achieve financial freedom. I have to work hard on it by taking such steps like reading financial books, learning new skills, saving money, starting a small business or sideline, investing my earnings and so on. The real peril of optimism is apathy. Most of us want instant gratification so much that the line between reality and make believe seems blurry. Admittedly, I have tried to make my problems go away by soaking up on books focused on positive thinking without realizing that there are no instant answers, only more questions and dilemmas pop up because these so-called gurus have sugarcoated their affirmative philosophies in their products just to sell and be famous. In real life, there are no instant solutions. You cannot solve all your problems just by reading 1 good book or buying a DVD that claims it can change your life. That's not how it works, unfortunately. Everything natural in this world undergoes a process and to disrupt the machinations of nature surely has its pitfalls. All things created in this world have a purpose though we may not understand it and we must respect it and learn from it.

Newton's law states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. My biggest sin was not living within my means. So now I must bear the consequences of my actions. No matter how much I regret spending the money I did not own, I feel grateful for making this mistake because it has opened up a world that I never knew before. I have learned about financial literacy and spiritual maturity along the way and I feel so blessed with all the knowledge and wisdom that I have gained throughout that process of purification. That's how life is really...Live and learn or Trial and error and of course Love and forgiveness.

The most important thing that I am grateful for despite my difficulties and trials is God's Word. The bible is the greatest reference book on how to live a meaningful and blessed life. And Jesus is the perfect example on how to achieve our full potential as human beings. Like Jesus, we have to be mature enough to take up our cross and accept our fate. We must all learn to accept our crosses and take responsibility for our actions. Bad stuff happens but failure is a part of life and it is the only hindrance to success. We need to be tried and tested first to bring out the best in us. Otherwise we would lose character and wisdom. Who wants to live without depth and meaning? I know I don't.

The problem today is many desire Heaven, but few desire to carry My cross. Many want consolation, but yet refuse to accept the trials that come their way. Many want instant answers, but refuse to wait patiently. This is so, because many do not want to suffer or give themselves totally to Me. This is because of one’s degree of love for me which, for many, is so little. Many only praise Me when all is going well, but when unexpected trials come their way, they lose trust in Me. Some then deny that I, your Lord, exist. - Jesus Christ

excerpt from Little Mary's Messages