…with Stubborn Optimism

I want to give you a few examples of this elusive idea of stubborn optimism.

Several years ago, I decided to write a play. I had never contemplated doing such a thing until I had a Zoom meeting with the Writer In Residence (WIR) at the local public library. It was on a completely different topic. The WIR mentioned that she wrote plays as a throwaway line in the conversation.

“Oh, that’s something I could do,” was my response. No filter there!

What was I thinking? In reality, I wasn’t thinking; I was feeling. I knew my personality was a half-full cup kind of guy.


To be fair, I knew I could give up very easily on some goals. I also knew I could be tenacious. Tenacity was always, at least, a possibility.


I asked the WIR for some resources she would recommend and dutifully followed up.

So with my stubborn optimism in hand, I didn’t let the unknown journey of a budding playwright stop me from going down the dark rabbit hole.

Update. Two years later, I’m working on a significant rewrite of draft number 7.

Here’s another much bigger example of stubborn optimism.

During the early days of the Second World War, there was a lot of fear in Britain about the looming conflict with Germany. It was especially strong, having come out of the effects of the war to end all wars in 1918.

What could an individual Brit do to make a difference on such a broad scale?

Enter Winston Churchill. “We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall never surrender.”

This famous speech in the Houses of Parliament turned fear into stubborn optimism. Nobody knew how, but nobody doubted that everyone had a role to play in being successful. Individual small actions were an essential part of a loftier goal. Learn as we go.

And my last example.

I recall that news items discussed climate change ten years ago. Generally, by the close of the 2000s, we would be in hot water as a species if we didn’t cool down the rate of global warming. That meant I needed to look ahead many decades past my death. It was hard to wrap my mind around that time frame.

Time. Distance. Scope.

The time between awareness and the blatant need for action has shrunk dramatically. Now governments are using 2025, 2030, and 2050 as targets for achieving various levels of carbon emissions as supported by the Paris Agreement of 2015.

The distance between me and the consequences of global warming had narrowed. The forest fires were approaching my door.

The scope was well passed that of finger-pointing our way into inaction. We realize billions of inhabitants live on a single blue-marble planet. As we learned during the pandemic – we are all in this together.

Please give this a bit of a think. What is one thing you are consciously doing, knowing that, ultimately, it will help save the world? And what is one thing you haven’t been doing regularly because you haven’t accepted its connection to the loftier goal?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

This Blog was inspired by a Ted Talk.

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

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2 thoughts on “…with Stubborn Optimism

  1. Patti+Dolman says:

    On a very simple level I recycle and I even bring an empty ice tea can home from a pizza restaurant because they don’t recycle. I do not want to contribute to the lack of available land fill. There are people who are annoyed that disposable cutlery will soon be obsolete. OK so what I will embrace is an electric car thus reducing gas emissions – 2000 jobs are being created in a Windsor plant which will produce batteries for the millions of electric cars that are coming. But now we need to mine lithium which may negatively impact the environment in those countries that supply it. But now they say batteries will have a life span of 10/20 years – then what? Landfill?

    • glenn says:

      You’ve highlighted the dilemma of our times – what is the true cost of peering into the future (not just dollars) of our decisions today?

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