Concepts of Life
The Marine officer, when he saw that he and his men were surrounded by the enemy, said, “Men, we are surrounded by the enemy; don’t let a one of them get away.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
There are two rooms-one full of brand-new toys, the other full of hay and horse manure. Two children are taken into them, one a pessimist, the other an optimist.
The pessimist looked at the first room and cried because all those wonderful toys would soon be broken. The optimist was in the other room shoveling. “I know there’s got to be a horse in here somewhere,” he said. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Somebody has well said that there are only two kinds of people in the world-there are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good morning, Lord,” and there are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good Lord, it’s morning.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
During the Battle of Britain, someone said to a man on the street in London, “Things look pretty dark, don’t they?” The man replied, “But the King says there’s ‘ope, Sir!” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
It is written on a sundial on a pier at Brighton, England: “Tis always morning somewhere in the world.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
A shoe salesman, upon finding out that in his new territory no one wore shoes, wrote his company and said, “Don’t send any shoes, because no one here wears them.”
Another salesman in the same territory wrote the company and said, “Send all the shoes you’ve got; nobody here has any.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
An optimist said to a pessimist, “Isn’t this a bright, sunny day?” The pessimist replied, “Yes, but if this heat spell doesn’t stop soon, all the grass will burn up.”
Two days later, the optimist said to the pessimist, “Isn’t this rain wonderful?” The pessimist replied, “Well, if it doesn’t stop soon, my garden will wash away.”
The next day, the optimist invited the pessimist to go duck hunting. The optimist wanted to show off his new registered hunting dog that could do things no other dog could. The pessimist looked at the dog and said, “Looks like a mutt to me.”
At that moment, a flock of ducks flew over. The optimist shot one of the ducks and it fell in the middle of the lake. He snapped his fingers and his new dog ran after the duck. The dog ran out on the water, picked up the duck, and ran back on the water. The optimist took the duck from the dog’s mouth, turned to the pessimist, and said, “What do you think of my dog now?” The pessimist replied, “Dumb dog-can’t even swim!” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
When someone is convinced that things can’t be done, he will cling to that conviction in the face of the most obvious contradiction. The story is told of the time when Robert Fulton gave the first public demonstration of his steamboat. One of those “can’t be done” fellows stood in the crowd along the shore repeating, “He can’t start it.”
Suddenly, there was a belch of steam and the boat began to move. Startled, the man stared for a moment and then began to chant, “He can’t stop it.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
I regard myself am an optimist. An optimist is a person who knows exactly how sad a place the world can be. A pessimist is one who is forever finding out.— Peter Unstinov
I read about a schoolboy who brought home his report card. It was heavy with poor grades. "What have you to say about this?" asked his father. "One thing for sure," the boy replied, "Dad, you can be proud. You know I haven't been cheating!"
Morning Glory, August 12, 1993.
Exceptional winning streaks by teams at relatively obscure high schools or colleges are not uncommon, but even so we feel an obligation to report that the girls' volleyball team at Dayville High School in Oregon ran off a string of 65 victories before losing. What makes this streak so appealing is that Dayville High has only 18 girl students: 16 are on the volleyball squad and the 17th keeps score.
Although Dayville is one of the smallest Class B high schools in the state, it won the Class A volleyball championship for three years running. Part of its success must be due to its unbridled optimism. The letter that brought word of the winning streak said that after the defeat, "The team rebounded and has a winning streak of one."
An optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds. A pessimist fears this is true. The tire is only flat on the bottom. Winners see risk as opportunity. They see the rewards of success in advance. They do not fear the penalties of failure. The winning individual knows that bad luck is attracted by negative thinking and that an attitude of optimistic expectancy is the surest way to create an upward cycle and to attract the best of luck most of the time. Winners know that so-called luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. If an individual is not prepared, he or she simply does not see or take advantage of a situation. Opportunities are always around, but only those who are prepared utilize them effectively.
Winners seem to be lucky because their positive self-expectancy enables them to better prepared for their opportunities. When asked by a news reporter how she thought she would do in one of her early career swimming meets in the United States several years ago, 14-year-old Australian Shane Gould replied, "I have a feeling there will be a world record today." She went on to set two world records in the one-hundred- and two-hundred- meter freestyle events. When asked how she thought she would fare in the more testing, grueling, four-hundred-meter event, Shane replied with a smile, "I get stronger every race, and besides ... by parents said they'd take me to Disneyland if I win, and we're leaving tomorrow!" she went to Disneyland with three world records. At 16 she held five world records and became one of the greatest swimmers of all time, winning three gold medals in the 1972 Olympics. She learned early about the power of self-expectancy.
Denis Waitley in The Winner's Edge (Berkley Books) quoted in Bits & Pieces, March 4, 1993, pp. 13-15.
As soon as I began unloading my groceries, the checkout clerk excused herself, saying she'd be right back. I continued emptying my shopping cart when I heard a woman's voice behind me. "Pardon me," she said. "Is this line open, or are you just an optimist?"
Patricia Carroll in Sunshine Magazine.
Two boys who were twins, one an incurable optimist, one a pessimist. The parents were worried about the extremes of behavior and attitude and finally took the boys in to see a psychologist. The psychologist observed them a while and then said that they could be easily helped.
He said that they had a room filled with all the toys a boy could want. They would put the pessimist in that room and allow him to enjoy life. They also had another room that they filled with horse manure. They put the optimist in that room. They observed both boys through one way mirrors. The pessimist continued to be a pessimist, stating that he had no one to play with. They went to look in on the optimist, and were astounded to find him digging through the manure. The psychologist ran into the room and asked what on earth the boy was doing. He replied that with all that manure, he was sure there had to be a pony in the room somewhere.
I passed a sand lot yesterday,
Some kids were playing ball
I strolled along the third base line
Within the fielder's call.
"Say, what's the score?" I asked.
He yelled to beat the stuffing,
"There's no one out, the bases full,
They're winning forty-two to nothing!"
"You're getting beat, aren't you my friend?"
And then in no time flat
He answered, "No, sir, not as yet!
Our side hasn't been up to bat!"
During his days as president, Thomas Jefferson and a group of companions were traveling across the country on horseback. They came to a river which had left its banks because of a recent downpour. The swollen river had washed the bridge away. Each rider was forced to ford the river on horseback, fighting for his life against the rapid currents. The very real possibility of death threatened each rider, which caused a traveler who was not part of their group to step aside and watch. After several had plunged in and made it to the other side, the stranger asked President Jefferson if he would ferry him across the river. The president agreed without hesitation. The man climbed on, and shortly thereafter the two of them made it safely to the other side.
As the stranger slid off the back of the saddle onto dry ground, one in the group asked him, "Tell me, why did you select the president to ask this favor of?"
The man was shocked, admitting he had no idea it was the president who had helped him. "All I know," he said, "Is that on some of your faces was written the answer 'No,' and on some of them was the answer 'yes.' His was a 'Yes' face."
C. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening, Word, 1990, p. 6.