Choose optimism.

Day 14 of 31 Lessons from an Epic Beginner

Twenty-seven years ago today, a 9 lb 10 oz. bald-headed version of me entered this world. Not all that planned, my parents were optimistic about this fourth addition to their family. With a positive spirit and maybe even a little gratitude, they welcomed me--a change to their plans--as a blessing, just as they had my three siblings before me.*


Years later, my brother (not the one pictured above) introduced me to the idea of "I wonder what will happen next?!"

It's a concept he learned in a book, where a guy managed to turn every bad, frustrating event into an ensuing adventure. Instead of facing a flat tire in the middle of nowhere with a pity party, he'd think out loud, "I wonder what will happen next?" and actually looked forward to the outcome.

Nick and I started doing the same, reminding each other of that when we were tempted to face a problem or a challenge with discouragement. When one of us shared our latest dilemma, the other would enthusiastically exclaim, "I wonder what will happen next!"

It was just the encouragement needed to work through it and find a silver lining and a solution.


It was late when we pulled back into our campground in Moab, Utah. We quietly collected our sleeping bags from the car, avoiding waking the other sleeping campers. I locked the car and set the keys in the open trunk while I finished grabbing one or two more items.

The touchy security system started blaring, echoing through the canyon, causing me to slam the trunk shut in a panic. I ran to the front door to make it stop and, finding it locked, ran back to the now-closed trunk with the keys unreachable inside. There was no choice but to accept my defeat.

We were locked out of the car, in the middle of the night, with the car alarm echoing against the surrounding red rocks, like a terrible alarm clock you can't turn off. Nearby campers reached out of their tents with their key fobs, setting off their own alarms in failed attempts to help. We were beyond help.

Nick shrugged with a well-what-can-you-do look, grabbed his sleeping bag and headed to his tent to get some sleep. I'm mortified, finding absolutely no comfort in the fact that none of the campers hearing this alarm from possibly miles around know who to blame or where to find me.

Guess what? We got it all figured out. The next day. After listening to a car alarm for eternity (or five minutes, but whatever). After getting some rocky, camping shut-eye. After using my brother's truck to get to cell reception and wait for a locksmith.

You know, after the appropriate amount of time and action to resolve these sort of things.


Because here's the deal: Problems are bound to be resolved. Eventually. But in this moment, when it feels like there's no way through this epic challenge? An optimistic attitude is just one essential step into figuring it all out.

"I wonder what will happen next" is a short and simple and doable approach to life's challenges. There's hope in persevering--to really look forward with anticipation to how it will all turn out.

Whenever possible (and it's always possible), choose optimism.

My parents did and, twenty-seven years later, I'm sharing this post with you today ;)

*And that's how I not-so-subtly work in that it's my birthday. Carry on as usual. I, however, have been celebrating all week with these >> birthday freebies and will be making this >> delicious pumpkin cake.


Answer in the comments:

Imagine what might come of a current challenge. Enjoy wondering what could happen next!

Day 14 of 31 Lessons from an Epic Beginner