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Pragmatic Optimism



Most people consider me an optimist because I laughingly state that I would take my last two dollars and buy a money belt. I'd even go after Moby Dick in a rowboat, and take the tartar sauce with me! However, I've got to confess that I don't hold a candle to the ultimate lady optimist who lived in a retirement home. One day, a distinguished-looking gentleman also became a resident. As luck would have it, the first day they sat across the table from each other at lunch. After a few minutes he grew uncomfortable because she was staring intently at him. He finally expressed his discomfort and queried her as to why she was staring. She responded that she was staring because he reminded her so much of her third husband--same demeanor, same smile, same height, weight--everything. The gentleman replied in some shock, "Third husband! How many times have you been married?" The lady smilingly said, "Twice." Yup. That's optimism!

I've got to confess I'm a pragmatic optimist myself. I love the story of the gentleman who was being given a tour of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Tel Aviv. The tour guide was pointing out the features of the incredible structure. The stonework was unbelievably beautiful. The wall tapestries, paintings, gold inlays, etc., were absolutely gorgeous. Finally, the tourist said, "I assume you named the facility for Horace Mann, the famous author." The tour guide answered with a smile, "No, we named it after Frederick Mann from Philadelphia." The tourist remarked, "Frederick Mann? What did he write?" The tour guide said, "A check." Now, that's being pragmatic!

It might interest you to know that the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary identifies the optimist in complimentary terms, but says nothing about the pessimist. The word "pessimist" was not in our vocabulary at that time. It's a modern "invention" which I believe we should "dis-invent." I encourage you to become an optimist--a pragmatic one, that is, because if you do, I'll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!


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A talented author and speaker, Zig Ziglar has an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture, and occupation. Since 1970, he has traveled over five million miles across the world delivering powerful life improvement messages, cultivating the energy of change. Since 1970, an extensive array of Ziglar audio, video, books, and training manuals have been utilized by small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Government agencies, churches, school districts, prisons, and non-profit associations, affecting lives in a profound way.
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