We use our Thought Leader Series as an opportunity to amplify the voices of some of the world’s most prominent thinkers and to evaluate more critically the complex topics we cover here at The Optimist Daily.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to find great thought leaders within our own Emissary community. Today we are sharing the words of UC Santa Barbara graduate student Joe Swearngin. Swearngin is pursuing a Ph.D. in physics and reached out to share some of his insights into what it means to be an optimist:
A thought that’s been forming in my mind over the last few months:
Courage is not acting without fear. Courage is action despite fear. Fear is a necessary precondition for courageous action.
It occurs to me that I don’t have a similar definition of optimism but there should be. For optimism to be meaningful there should be a necessary precondition which one must assert something like positivity in the face of. Action in the face of fear is courage. Is compassion in the face of anger optimism? Is the action in the face of impending failure optimism?
The best I can come up with is value in the face of nihilism. Choosing to value in opposition to a world without values is the closest I can come myself to being optimistic.
If you too want to dive deeper into what it means to be a solution-seeking optimist, check out our podcast, The Optimist Daily Update, where our hosts discuss Swearngin’s words and the power of staying optimistic in the face of trying times.