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Born optimists


One of the privileges of being a reporter is that it is your job to always look for new stories and thus always meet new people. Through all these meetings over many years I have learned that a lot of people choose vocations that they themselves can learn the most from.

Many psychotherapists have a great need to heal their own psyche. Mediators tend to create conflicts in their personal lives. High-energy motivational speakers who talk about the power of positive thinking appear to ignore the negative in their own lives. Business gurus who teach that egos are so often roadblocks in business, have big egos themselves. People who teach meditation and mindfulness tend to need quieting their own minds in the first place.

It is like healing your own wounds becomes the most important and inspiring contribution you can make to the world around you. Then there are also the people who are natural teachers. They don’t need to write books or tell their stories to big audiences. They just are. And through their being they teach and inspire. Talking or writing about something is different from being that same thing. From being flows natural inspiration. No need for books or talks.

So where does that leave me as the maker of a magazine and a book on optimism? Am I a pessimist who himself needs more optimism? Someone once told me: “How could you construct doors without shade and windows without locks, if you don’t know the power of the negative?”

So, yes, I was born an optimist—like you, for that matter. But—probably like you too—I have encountered disappointments early in life that weakened my natural ability to remain optimistic. At some point I made it my mission to overcome my disappointments and the pessimism that came from it and here I am as the author of a book on optimism.

Many people never need to read a book on optimism because they already are optimists. That is to say their optimism is stronger than their pessimism. Because it is important to recognize that in our dualistic world all of us are both optimists and pessimists. The fact is that your life is more fulfilling as an optimist than as a pessimist. Science is very clear about that as you will read The Intelligent Optimist’s Guide to Life.

I know from my own experience that pessimists can become optimists; and that the journey from pessimism to optimism is a very rewarding one. At the same time many optimists can strengthen their optimism. Perhaps, because I do know the pessimistic parts in me as well I can be a good guide for you on the road to more optimism that is still as much mine as it can be yours.

I look forward to sharing what I learned with you as well as many stories that have inspired me. I wrote this book to motivate and enthuse you and to inspire you to live your life to the fullest.

That’s optimism.

From “A note from the author” in Jurriaan Kamp’s new book: The Intelligent Optimist’s Guide to Life.


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