Did you know that the Nobel Peace Prize was born from a desperate attempt by Alfred Nobel to reframe his story as something other than the inventor of dynamite?

Or at one time, the #1 ranked university in the United States was known as the “College of New Jersey?” That certainly doesn’t sound as impressive as their moniker today.

And while we’re at it, did you know that Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, suds for boozers on a budget, has convinced the Chinese to pony up $44 a can for it’s “Blue Ribbon 1844” version? Granted it’s a “special brew” with a fancy package, but still…

The point is, there’s nothing the world likes better than a good story, and you have a good one to tell. If it’s a bit exaggerated? All the better! That just proves you have a healthy imagination and a disregard for the rules — those pesky details imposed by people to keep the majority of us “in line.”

So think of where you want to go, decide what story it will take to get there, and then rebrand yourself to fit your goal! If it takes coming up with a snazzy new name, remember you’re in good company. Right, Amelia Kelly?*

One final note: Make sure to memorize your new story from top to bottom, as it can be embarrassing to not recognize your name or details of your life when out in public.

*Today known as “Iggy Azalea.” 

Another week, another 168 hours stuck in the same confines. And the end is not yet in sight: While hope reigns supreme, some experts believe this period of social distancing will last for months.

A human being can’t be faulted for experiencing a sense of restlessness, even claustrophobia, as one turn of the clock bleeds into the next. So the question becomes, “How can I make this period of sequestration a positive and rewarding experience ?” It’s not unheard of; some people have spent many years in isolation, having chosen that lifestyle.

One way is to step outside yourself and reframe your view of the current situation. Good things have already emerged from this short period in our history — a balm for the environment, reduced commuting time, inventive new ways to cook beans and rice. But perhaps the greatest blessing of all is that this can be the moment where we “go within,” turning our focus from the outside world to the wonderful adventure inside our own heads.

We think you’ll find inspiration in the examples set by some of the world’s foremost thinkers, who embraced solitude as a refreshing change from the frantic pace of the world. We humbly offer this audio recording of a guided meditation and seance performed at SuperOptimist headquarters to help you to embrace the moment at hand and do your best work now.*


(pictured above, from left to right: SuperOptimists Freida, Lars, Walter, Angelique, John, Lulu, Nathaniel and Martin)

This is merely a taste of what is out there for you to experience. We encourage you to continue the practice of summoning helpful spirits to your side. You don’t need a room full of friends to make contact; even while keeping your own counsel you can perform the ritual on your own.

And should you be interested in contacting the spirits we’ve befriended, the best way is to read their works. Once they see you delving into their pages, they’re more likely to pay you a personal visit.




Here’s to a memorable week (or eight) of inner travel, illumination and adventure!

*Special thanks to our resident medium, John Burlinson, for performing this valuable service for our readers.


Another day, another deadline.  Already you’re swamped with wall-to-wall meetings and your nerves are tighter than Joe Biden’s latest facelift. So you can be forgiven for wondering how you’re going to make it through another long stretch before experiencing your next official holiday.

What’s a responsible member of the work force to do? Caring for your sanity and well-being should be a priority, but you can’t just light out for a long weekend whenever the board of directors does. That’s why we developed the “SuperOptimist Immediate Vacation.”

An I.V. provides instant gratification when it’s needed most by allowing your mind to escape its confines for a few welcome minutes. (Vacation has the word “vacate” embedded within, and for good reason.*) This momentary respite from gerbil-wheel cogitation can go a long way towards renewing your energy, your mood and your sense of humor.

So what constitutes the proper embodiment of a SuperOptimist I.V.?

1. Columbia University researchers found that exposure to the negative air ions created when air molecules are exposed to sunlight, radiation, moving air, and water generated feelings of alertness, mental clarity, and elevated mood. So your Immediate Vacation may be as simple as leaving the office and walking around the block. Just don’t tell anybody where you’re going.

2. Viewing a few pictures of your last vacation on your desktop can spark memory association of pleasant times while lowering your blood pressure. Keeping a tube of sunscreen in your drawer and taking a deep sniff can also ignite the senses to a time of peaceful clarity. Sun Bum makes a broad spectrum product that smells about right:

3. One tends to breath shallowly at work, which can clench rather than loosen the stomach, neck muscles, and sphincter. Close your eyes, place both feet on the floor, and breathe deeply through your nose for 5 to 10 minutes. If anyone asks what you’re doing, tell them you’re in the middle of an “I.V.” and to “GFY.”

The Immediate Vacation is at the ready when you need it. Give yourself permission to take one whenever it suits. Your ticket to getting away from it all is always in your possession. And unlike exorbitant hotel and airline charges, it’s 100% free!

*Did you know? The Adirondacks inspired the first use of the word vacation, as in: “One vacates from the city to exchange humid heat for fresh air.In a similar fashion, one may vacate from work to exchange fetid thought for a clean slate.


While we’re all familiar with government-mandated holidays, thanks to corporate interests, every day of the year now constitutes a celebration of sorts.

Surely you’re aware of National Corn Chip Day, National Personal Trainer Awareness Day, and National Static Electricity Day? All can be found in our current month.*  But we can think of no day we enjoy more than January 15th—National Hat Day!

Perhaps it’s because we tend towards the pragmatic, but wearing a hat on a January morning seems to make a lot of sense (especially in the Northeast). But we also like how this holiday jars us from our usual knit cap approach to reach in the closet for something special.

While there are many choices, from Stetsons to pith helmets to feathered French chapeaus, today we highlight the fez for your consideration. A felt headdress in the shape of a short cylinder, it is named after the city Fez, the kingdom of Morocco until 1927. Because of its impractical nature (as a headdress for soldiers, it made the head a target for enemy fire, and provided little protection from the sun), the fez was relegated over the years to ceremonial wear and was taken up by various fraternal organizations, among them the Shriners, whom we admire for their ability to fit into tiny automobiles.

While we will proudly sport our fez today, rest assured it will be indoors. We have no intention of chasing a blowing hat down 8th Avenue in the frigid winter wind.

So here’s to National Hat Day! We doff our caps to you.

*By some counts, there are over 1,500 national days of commemoration in the calendar. As for SuperOptimist Day? We’re in continual celebratory mode 24/7/365.

One of the most unpleasant tasks a present-day human can undertake is making the dreaded “phone call to customer service.”

A typical experience might involve, oh, say Verizon Wireless and a customer representative named “Cyrus.”* After waiting on hold for the requisite 25 minutes — a length the company hopes will provoke you to abandon your quest — the endless loop of grocery store jazz clicks off.

“Hello, thank you for calling Verizon customer service, my name is Cyrus, how can I help you?” comes a less-than-ebullient voice, hoarse with (presumably) cigarettes and coffee.

“I want to cancel my account,” you say with practiced authority.

There’s a long pause. Too long.  “Are you there?” you ask. Cyrus clears his throat, then asks for your first and last name, and the phone number associated with your account. You spell both names out so he’s crystal clear, and slowly recite the digits so he has time to type them correctly. Long pause. He asks you to repeat all your information again.  You do.  He asks you to spell your name again.  You clench your teeth. Now again with the phone number. Really? You wonder if Cyrus is in need of a quality hearing aid.  Or perhaps Verizon teaches him to torture you as much as possible.

Now Cyrus asks how he can help you.  You repeat your request. “I am calling to cancel your account and I want to assure that this takes place today, as I will no longer be paying an exorbitant bill for services that don’t measure up.”

Another long pause. Cyrus tells you he’s very sorry to hear that, and he will do everything in his power to assist you. Then comes a bombshell. “Unfortunately, I must tell you all the systems are down at the moment.”

You take a deep breath. You’ve prepared for this sort of dodge, so you ask Cyrus if there’s a street address he can give so you can write Verizon and cancel your account that way. He says no, the only way to cancel an account is through a customer service representative like himself, except of course that the systems are down so there’s nothing he can do right now.

You remind Cyrus of the Verizon promise, which reads: “With a positive culture and integrity throughout, the Verizon customer service team is one of a kind.” he hears you out without commenting. You then tell Cyrus you’ll be cancelling the recurring charge for Verizon services on your credit card in two days, so you demand he take your information down and then call you back when the system is up and he can cancel your account.

He says he will definitely take your information down, what was your name again? You repeat your name through teeth so clenched you fear you might crack a molar, and he asks how to spell it, for the third goddamn time. You spell it again for him. There is a long pause and he says sure, he will take care of this when the system comes back on line and give you a call back.  When can you expect to hear back from him? you wonder. Cyrus says he’ll “most likely” call you before the day is out.

But you don’t believe him.  Why should you, he’s done nothing but stonewall since the conversation began. You ask for his last name, the name that comes after Cyrus, for with his full name you can make sure he’s held accountable for his actions. He says he can’t tell you that, it’s company policy. You ask if you can have his extension number, so you can stay in touch with him and not one of the other 40,000 customer service representatives there to not help you. He says unfortunately he doesn’t have an extension, none of them do, that should you call back you’ll be helped by whichever one of the 40,000 unhelpful CSR’s answer the phone first, and adds that the individual could be anywhere in the world.

So after all that, after 49 minutes of your day that you’ll never get back, you do the unthinkable. You thank Cyrus.  You thank him because even though you know he won’t be calling back, there’s still a shred of hope that he will.  You hang up, defeated.

So what are the positives in all this?

  • You took action and made the call, knowing deep down that nothing would be accomplished. In SuperOptimist practice, this is known as “detaching from the outcome.” Maintaining equilibrium regardless of success or failure is a big step towards achieving nirvana.
  • You held back from calling Cyrus a “stupid f(&#@ c&*.” This shows that you retain level of empathy for your fellow human, who can’t help it if working in a call center in South Carolina is the best he can do at present.
  • You avoided telling Cyrus of the possibility that an explosive device could be detonated at his particular call center (a head fake, for sure, but perhaps effective to spur action from a minion at the multinational telecommunications conglomerate.
  • You are able to “defervesce” when you hang up the phone, adding a new word to your vocabulary in the process.
  • You decided that the $40 a month you’ve been wasting on the Verizon GoUnlimited plan you no longer use really isn’t that much to spend to avoid another call with the likes of Cyrus.  So you’ve detached from money too, which you’ve been trying to do for awhile now and maybe, just maybe, this is the experience that will free your mind from ever worrying about such petty matters again.  (Or at least until you get next month’s bill.)
  • You give yourself a gold star for all of the above.

* Verizon was chosen from a myriad of corporate behemoths who operate customer call centers. We could just as easily have featured Amazon, Wells Fargo, or 1-800-My-Pillow as teachers of transcendence for this experiment.

Moving slow? Feeling snarky? Having trouble getting started? Now that it’s back to “la course de rat,” you may well be cursing what society has labeled the worst day of the week. 

But here’s the good news: Monday is not the ungodly descent into Hades we’ve been conditioned to think.

A recent survey revealed that day-of-the-week stereotypes (i.e., “Monday blues”, “Wednesday hump day”, “TGIF”, etc.) were only pronounced when subjects predicted their moods for each day of the upcoming week.  Which means if you reframe today as “tolerable” or even “pleasant,” there’s every chance you can bury the Monday stigma and the angst it can cause.

So what’s Monday got going for it? First off, you’ve probably stored up a few more winks thanks to “no alarm Saturday” and “slept through church Sunday.” Plus, two days away from the office is a restorative in itself. That’s good, solid energy you can draw upon during the course of the day.

Then there are the remarkable stories you can spill to your work mates regarding your blissed-out triumph of a weekend.  Like how you piloted your 40-foot sloop to victory in the local regatta and then rolled sevens at the World Dice Championship. (And don’t forget the models.  Of course there were models!) Remember, everyone exaggerates his or her own adventures. Feel free to do the same.

Finally, Monday gives you the perfect excuse (“for christ sake, it’s Monday”) to drag your heels a bit before you tackle that inbox full of projects, deadlines, and ass-ripping notes from your churlish supervisor.

If you really want to really bitch about a day, try Tuesday. That’s when the work has backed up, the boss is getting testy, and the heavy-duty shit hits the fan. Yep, Tuesday’s the day you’re most likely to work through your lunch break due to the realization that you screwed around on Monday, and now you’re behind the 8-ball.

In fact, almost one in five employees will leave the office late on a Tuesday, as they work after hours to salvage the week after putting in a poor effort the day before.

So rather than predetermine that Monday is going to suck it big time, why not look at the facts. And then enjoy showing people your pictures from that Saturday evening rave, where the cops arrested everyone but you!

Enjoy your Monday.  You’ve earned it.