optimism

Optimism

Optimism is defined as: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.

As we come upon the start of this new year, I’m seeing more than I would have expected about how awful 2015 was, and the best we can look forward to in 2016 is more of the same. Or worse.

It may be that 2015 was a horrible year, for many valid reasons. Commenting on it one way or the other will not change it.

People were maltreated, abused, bruised, battered, bludgeoned, and beaten by life, this past year and years before. This does encourage pessimistic sentiments.

But that is not the title or point of this essay.

Sometimes things happen which make one think the whole world, perhaps even the whole universe, is against one, plotting one’s downfall or total annihilation.

As much as that may seem to be the case, it is not true.

One may think the deck is stacked against them in particular, but the odds are more or less equally not in anyone’s favor. The world is rough, life is hard, and if it’s not hard, it’s hard work. That is what we’ve got to deal with.

But we can deal with it from one of two viewpoints: an optimistic viewpoint or a pessimistic viewpoint.

Few people know this golden secret: The world is only as one sees it, the future only what one makes it. No more; no less.

Where there is a will, there is a way. And if the first way, plan A, doesn’t work, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet, and about 20 more alphabets available after that.

Giving up or giving in is a choice, not fate or destiny or circumstance.

One is one’s own worst enemy, the holder of all the chains that hold one down, the creator of all the shadows that darken one’s world.

Any chain or shadow thrown at a person by another, or the universe at large, takes root and grows only when the person themself plants it and waters the seed.

Soon, all that person will see is a dismal, bleak garden overgrown with weeds, with no room for the brightly colored flowers of life.

The best herbicide for these weeds? Optimism. Hope. Not rose-colored glasses, but only the idea that things can get better, and that you can make it so.

It is not necessary to envision a Utopia or a life of total bliss, or to strive for such.

Even if things were a mere hair better, slightly more tolerable, one would have the spirit of it.

If a person found just one more reason to smile, enjoyed one more sunset, said one more kind word to bring a light to another’s face in the whole year than they did the year before, it would be an improvement.

It would be a step in the right direction.

And perhaps, if enough people take that one step to make things just a tiny bit better, that perfect world will become reality, and not just an unachievable Utopian dream.

Perhaps we may even see it in 2016.

One can hope 🙂

❤ DragonBeck

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The Brilliant Idea

As a prelude to the following anecdote: I love music, as in looooovvvvvvvveeeeee music. I play a little guitar and keyboard, but would describe myself only as an amateur at best. It’s not even a hobby, really, it’s just something that I fiddle about with if I have a spare moment or two. I know even less about computers (that’s relevant, I promise).

Music features heavily in my current series of books, The Guardians of the Path, (computers do not) and I got this idea for the covers of the books: what if I had a song and put a few bars of it on the back of each, so when you laid the books together you would get the whole song? Brilliant, right?! So, I wrote a little ditty on my keyboard, then I just had to figure out a way to get it into written form on my computer.

As noted above, I don’t have the skill-set necessary to do that all on my little own, but enthusiasm and optimism has carried me through greater trials and tribulations. I figured out I needed to download some music writing software (Finale free trial) and hook my keyboard up to my computer. Simple, right? Yeah, no (not for me – this whole thing was truly a major accomplishment, hence the blog). I came up with and followed three simple steps:

1) Find and procure people who know stuff.

2) Think positive!

3) and make Magyc!

1) Fortunately for me, in my life I have many people who know stuff. One such person helped kick-start my endeavor with two words. The first was “USB”. Now, I don’t know much about computers, but I’m not a complete troglodyte. I know what a USB is and what it looks like; my keyboard didn’t have that. Upon my description of “a round hole”, I was provided with the word “MIDI” (for the non-music people like me, that means Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or what you add to chlorians to endow mastery of the Force).

So I went to the wisest person I know – Google – and put in “MIDI to USB cable” and what do you know – such a thing exists!! I ordered one, and being the slightly naive, frugal and pragmatic person that I am, figuring this was a once-off deal, bought the cheapest one on Amazon that qualified for Prime shipping (I can already hear the sighs, eye-rolls, lectures and general censure from the purists – don’t worry, I learned my lesson). Bad idea. No computer I have could see the keyboard and long story short, I bought another, more acceptable cable, and…

2) …with the new cable, though the keyboard could now be seen by my computer, I couldn’t make it work with the software. I was about to scrap the whole idea, thought about it, came close to deciding it wasn’t that important anyway – it can be easy to get frustrated when things don’t work. That never helps. Ever. So – think positive! Never give up, on yourself or your dreams.

Decide that it’s all going to work out, even if everything is going wrong, and hold on to that. Be confident in yourself. If it’s going really, really badly, refer to #1 and be confident in someone else.

In my case, that would be my brother. If you don’t have one of those, I recommend getting one, as soon as possible. He’s amazing – he is to electronics what Jesus was to the sick, lame and blind – he waves his hands and they work. I don’t know how he does it. After about two weeks of me trying different things, I swallowed my pride and asked if he could help me the next time he was over at the house. He spent five minutes – five minutes! – clicked some things, looked at some other things, and voila! Suddenly, when I pressed a key on the keyboard, music happened on the computer and I could…

3) …make Magyc!! It’s not easy to describe how to make Magyc. It’s a different process for each person, and unfortunately the schools don’t cover what to do if you have no inherent magic talent. You’re just pretty much screwed. If you have magic talent, but don’t inherently know what to do with it, you’re also screwed. Very few people are able to point a wand at something and make the right thing happen on the first go.

It’s more an art, less a science. There’s no hard and fast recipe for sparkly-rainbow-golden-beams-and-unicorn-tears Magyc, no pseudo-Latin phrase you can say with the right inflection or formulation of strange and exotic ingredients simmered together under a blue moon to produce this ethereal thing. Trial and error is always fun. Trial and success is more fun. And I fully believe that if you try enough times, you’ll learn more and more of what you need to know in order to make your own unique brand of Magyc, which this world desperately needs.

Anyway, with some optimism, people who know stuff, persistence, trial and error, more trial and error, coffee, and trial and success, my brilliant idea came to partial fruition:

A GOTP

Yay!!! So, that’s what I did with my last weekend. I have the music – I have no idea if I’ll be able to get it into a format to put on the cover, but remember, there’s always:

1) Find and procure people who know stuff.

2) Think positive!

3) and make Magyc!

In the eternal words of David Essex, Michael Damian and Def Leppard, Rock on!