My Personal Philosophy

Dear Reader,

I am a student in Colorado and I live a fun life. I find that there is nothing more satisfying than skiing down a mountain after a winter storm. My favorite kind of weather is a dreary snowy day when the beautiful snow crystals fall from the sky like little angels from heaven. Some may consider this "bad weather" but I believe that there is no such thing. I am an "Optimist: Day-Dreamer more elegantly spelled." as Mark Twain would say. I have learned to find the beauty in rough situations and I pray that you too will realize how a positive outlook on life can carry you places you never thought you could go.

This semester we have been asked to analyze ourselves and decide a major concept in our lives that connects to our literature. I personally have decided that a positive outlook on life is the only way a person can succeed. Many of our readings show this, in the negative attitude of many of the characters leading to their eventual downfall. I deeply believe that if we examine our society and ourselves, we will learn that to succeed in life we must first set aside our worries and learn to look at the bright side of things. We must learn to cherish what we have and not dwell on what we don't.

Throughout this semester we have read and analyzed many works. One of the first books we read was The Crucible by Arthur Miller. His characters perish by means of pessimism. John Proctor gave up hope and found that he no longer had anything more to live for. This outlook is what eventually drove him to his death at the gallows. His “woe is me” attitude destroyed his ability to persevere. The villagers in The Crucible lost sight of their roots and the concept of grace. I understand that Arthur Miller was trying to display the emotions of the real people in Salem, however, it frustrated me to see the hopelessness of his characters. I believe that if the people of Salem had a more optimistic outlook it would have opened their eyes to the foolish things that they were brewing.

Another unit we studied was gothic literature. This may sound like literature that has to do only with gloom and doom, but in all actuality it is more of a representation of what can happen to people if they repress feelings of hate or sorrow for too long. The results can be fatal. As Alex Tan once said, “Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view again”. By saying that we need to clear our eyes, I think that Tan is saying that unless we can let go of yesterdays faults and failures we can never grasp today’s success. We read many different works of gothic literature throughout this unit including; The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, assorted short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, and The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Each of these stories showed the evil side of mankind in ways where death and sorrow hung over the characters. Their ideas led them to horrid situations that could have been avoided if only they had kept a brighter view of their futures. I believe that it is necessary for us to teach ourselves to let go of yesterday’s troubles and accentuate the positives of today and tomorrow. This is not a philosophy that we simply acquire at birth, it is practiced and learned throughout our entire lives.

If we can have a hopeful attitude toward life we can become something greater than we ever thought was even possible. After all, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” If Helen Keller could live her life with optimism and give us this quote, surely we can live our lives with hope.

Optimistically Yours,