Our search for the ideal candidate leads us back to Bill McKay.

Had it with the current occupant of the Oval Office? Not feeling an affinity for the alternatives you’ve seen crowding the stage on CNN? Fear not, dear voter! For here’s a list of all 799 candidates for president, most of whom have not been given a minute of airtime on any cable network.

Take a look and see if a name grabs you. Then do a little digging. Chances are, they have an introductory video on youtube, like Santa (his legal first name), who if elected plans to sell Air Force One on eBay and make his cat the vice president. Or Mike Bickelmeyer, a former Domino’s Pizza driver and Holiday Inn bellhop who presents a humble portrait, complete with tax returns stretching back years. Then there’s Voice Over Pete, who’s running on the internet privacy and gaming platform and has it in for Mark Zuckerberg.

Surely there’s someone here that can fulfill your wish for a Commander-in-Chief. Still not enticed by a candidate’s message? Then take matters into your own hands! America is the land of the free and home of the long shot. Here are the instructions for tossing your hat into the ring.

And remember, even if you don’t reach the pinnacle of power, you’ll still be in position to accept a cabinet post by getting your name out there. But make sure you have a good working knowledge of the Constitution and ideas for how to revise the 232-year-old document to better reflect life on earth now.

Here’s a primer to help a candidate frame their proposals.

Good luck, and may the most positive, uplifting, and well-mannered candidate win.

It won’t be long before we see candidates who are artificially manufactured taking the debate stage at the Fox Theater in Detroit. Will we be able to tell the difference between the cyborgs and the flesh and blood versions? Stay tuned.



Landing on the moon was the height of accomplishment for Apollo 11 astros Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, and we continue to celebrate their feat to this day. But government-sanctioned space pilots are not the only ones with the ability to launch themselves into orbit. With a bit of concentration, you can too!*

All you need do is develop your SuperOptimist Antigravity Practice (S.O.A.P.®). Simply stated, S.O.A.P is the ability to picture the world from above. It can be as simple as gazing down from the ceiling at an event transpiring in the room in which you’re sitting. Or as far-flung as having your gaze come from another galaxy entirely, to render the world as a mere blip in the cosmos.

By looking at existence as if standing on your own private observation deck – one that you can shift to any elevation – you gain an outlook on life that renders any situation manageable. Suddenly, the traffic jam you’re in becomes a curious abstraction, the endless meeting at the office a gathering of tiny heads all nodding in sequence, the blank piece of paper a simple square of white without the power to paralyze.

Consider the photos taken by NASA explorers. From their position high above our planet, it looks as if they’re peering into a microscope that can shrink an entire galaxy to the size of a postcard. This point of view has such a powerful impact on their consciousness that they speak of it expanding their understanding of existence.

But it’s not just astronauts who can develop this ability. Researchers operating in the social sciences term it “self-distancing,” and recommend it as a way to decrease stress and make difficult tasks easier. Just by leaning back in your chair when you’re working on something difficult, you can ease the burden and give yourself more perspective on the situation. Fully activate an abstract view of the problem at hand and your ability to solve it multiplies exponentially.

Now try this practice by imagining yourself far in the distant future, or hovering near the ceiling watching the proceedings below in a detached way, or even entering the body of a different person in your general vicinity. How would you describe this experience?

When stuck in a cubicle, or an airport, or an endless holiday gathering, it’s quite useful to teleport upward and gaze at the situation with aloofness. You can feel the tension disappear, your humor return, and an empathy arise for the people around you who are suffering through another exceedingly dull patch without the benefit of your gravity-defying abilities. Your SuperOptimist Antigravity Practice is an invisible spyglass that offers you perception beyond normal sight.Turn to it often, and enjoy a way of seeing that puts everything – yes, everything – into perspective.

*For complete instructions on venturing into space, we recommend “A Wise Man Taught Me How to Defy Gravity and Now I’ll Teach You.”

O glorious day! For July 3rd is the anniversary of Franz Kafka’s birth.

And yet, we prefer to roll out the sheet cake for his friend Max Brod.  If not for dear Max, we’d have no idea who Franz Kafka even was.

As it turns out, Mr. Brod was the reticent author’s lifelong pal and literary executor. In failing health, and having received little acknowledgement for his storytelling efforts, Kafka entrusted Max to destroy all his unpublished work upon his death. But when Franz finally met his maker,  Brod ignored his deceased friend’s wishes. Instead of torching Kafka’s manuscripts, he had them published instead.

Without Brod making that fateful decision, Kafka would have remained an anonymous insurance man who wrote fiction on the side. And we would not have  “The Trial,”  “The Castle” or “Amerika” to read, ponder and cherish.  So on this blessed July 3rd, we give thanks for Max Brod — and the reminder that it’s occasionally beneficial to listen to voices other than our own.


Another day, another set of absolute miracles taking place. And in every direction!

Wait, you didn’t see them?

Perhaps you have become inured to such marvels. You are not alone. Since humanity started about 6 million years ago with primates known as the Ardipithecus, miracles have become so plentiful in life, we take them for granted.

Yet all it takes to reignite the senses to the incredible phenomena that surround us is to pause and consider that it wasn’t very long ago that humans walked on all fours and had body hair they could neither groom nor shampoo. And today? In haircare alone, you have your choice of hundreds of fabulous shampoo brands! (Here are the statistics on the favorites from 2018.)

See how everyday occurrences we take for granted can become jaw-dropping revelations, just by reframing your perspective? Here are a few more examples that we’ve recently found deserving of deeper appreciation.

DAILY COMMUTE: We take a “train” pulled by a “diesel engine” that runs on “steel tracks” from one “state” to another. That’s amazing!

PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT: We work in a “building” that’s 52 stories tall, has 21 “elevators” and 189 “water fountains”. That’s amazing!

LUNCHTIME IN THE CITY: We eat a “pulled pork sandwich” from a “food truck” one block away, and they give us an “extra side of coleslaw” because it’s almost closing time. That’s amazing!

CHANCE AT GREAT FORTUNE: Twice a week we buy a “ticket” that qualifies us to win hundreds of millions of “dollars” if our numbers are chosen. That’s amazing!

MOBILE PHONE: We all stare at a “computer” the size of a human hand that offers endless news, games, televisions shows, weather, and “shopping opportunities”. That’s amazing!

STREET BUSKER: Every morning there’s a man near the 42nd St. “shuttle” who wears a “paper crown” on his head and plays “House of the Rising Sun” on a red Telecaster “guitar”. That’s amazing!

We could keep going like this all day. And you can too!  Any time you feel the heavy burden of routine starting to drag you into the darkness, close your eyes, click your heels, and remember that you have eyes and heels to close and click.  Then open your eyes, point at the nearest object, and marvel at it out loud.

“Wow, that’s a ‘metal file cabinet’ that contains sheets of ‘paper’ with words and pictures on it.  That’s amazing!”*

*Note: You may need to explain to onlookers why you are behaving like this, as they probably aren’t as attuned to the miracles of everyday existence as you are.

It’s clear that humans like creating contests — and picking winners. There’s a huge number of competitions ranging from small local prizes to large international Grands Prix, judging what makes for success and failure, good and bad, winners and also rans. A lot of comparing goes on to decide who is “better” and who is “worse.”

People can go batshit crazy comparing themselves to other people. Is the winner really better than you? Do they have superior bloodlines? Did they go to an Ivy League college? Do they have deep skills you don’t? Why do people like hanging around them more than you? Is it their shoes? Do they have rich and powerful friends? Do they go skiing with famous people? Pure insanity!

The only competition you should care about is the internal competition with yourself.  Look at what you were doing five years ago and see if you’ve made any progress. If you do an honest analysis and have made no progress towards better work in the last five years – great! This realization means your progress can start today.

Take it from some accomplished artists: you never know what might set you on a new course.  Artists from Picasso to Gerhard Richter have radically changed their styles seeking a better way to express themselves. This kind of evolution is also available to you right now — free of charge — if you only give yourself permission to change what you’re doing and go “off recipe.”

Experimenting with a new style or process means going off the map into the unknown, and possibly taking a turn down a mysterious dark highway and ending up with one last $10 chip in a Northern California casino. But most people (reliable airline pilots excluded) are supposed to crash occasionally.

Here’s how Mr. David Bowie (the musician, not the spider), framed it:

“…if you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

Are your feet touching the bottom? Wade out farther. Now isn’t that better?

Note: if you’d like more recognition for your efforts, we recommend purchasing a trophy for yourself.  The bigger, the better. When anyone asks how you got it, you can tell them “I’m a winner at life.” Who can argue with that?

Conformity is so normalized, we are barely aware of it when we bow to safe, established standards. It’s like a river that wants to stay on its regular course, since altering that course may cause all kinds of unanticipated upsets, flooding, and chaos.

But maybe a little chaos is exactly what you need to reboot your internal hard drive.  Zen masters would give a monk a slap if they saw him getting too cozy on the cushion. If you are alive, it can be good to wake up, ask yourself what rules you are conforming to — and why?

We invite you to join us in deviating from your norm and trying something out of your comfort zone. For example, if you wear casual clothing every day, try putting on something ostentatious: say, a hooded cape or a butterfly hat. Even better, try mimicking Katy Perry’s outfit from her evening of Met Gala-vanting. If you’re thinking of taking a vacation, close your eyes, spin a globe and pick a spot. Before you have time to reconsider, book the flight immediately. (Short on money? use a map of the surrounding counties in your area.)

Stuck at the office? How about turning your supervisor’s desk drawer into a fish tank? Or if the boss already has an expensive fish tank that he spends an inordinate amount of time tending to, put a plastic figurine of a skeleton in it and see how long it takes him to notice.*

Of course, if you decide to tell your friends about your actions, prepare for the social pushback you’ll receive. “You’re going to do what?!” “Don’t you need to get permission for that?” “If you were going to __________, don’t you think you would have done it before now?”

Take their admonishments in stride. They remain asleep and are startled by your awakening. Let their incredulousness be your motivation!

Remember, there is immense social pressure to conform and stay in one’s habitual role.Japan demonstrates some of this particular creativity problem in the popular Japanese saying “出る釘は打たれる” or, in English “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”

Admittedly, if nobody showed up for defined tasks, social order would fall apart in a matter of days. But don’t worry; most people will continue with their narrowly defined jobs, activities, and labels, while you go in search of the new!

*Note: properly clean the skeleton before placing in tank, lest the bacteria kill off the sensitive longnose hawkfish and royal gramma. Should this happen, it could be grounds for dismissal. (Which might actually be a much better fate than continuing to abide by a fishy boss anyhow.)


In 1927, Charles Lindbergh received acclaim for piloting The Spirit of St. Louis across the ocean — the first non-stop transatlantic flight between New York and Paris.

Yet two weeks before,  French aviators Charles Nungesser and François Coli also attempted the journey in an effort to win the Orteig Prize. Strapped into their byplane L’Oiseau Blanc, they took off from Paris for New York, only to disappear before arrival.  The remains of their plywood and canvas-covered plane have never been officially recovered.

A sad story of failure? The tragedy of a near-miss? On the contrary. To this day, the disappearance of L’Oiseau Blanc is considered one of aviation’s great mysteries.  Creating a great mystery is an amazing accomplishment in anyone’s book, and 80 years later their attempt continues to be the source of investigation and conjecture.

And how many pilots from yesteryear are celebrated with a rooftop restaurant in Paris named after their doomed byplane, featuring a delicious “pâté en croûte” complemented by artichoke and foie gras from Aveyron?  Further proof that bad outcomes do not equate with failure, but lead to fine dining opportunities in the world’s most romantic city.

As the SuperOptimist knows, it’s in the attempt that life is best measured.  All hail Nungresser and Coli, true heroes who tried their best!

First, the lawn. According to noted biologist Edward O. Wilson, “Lawns are a monoculture of alien species, a rapacious consumer of water, and require toxic chemicals to maintain which eventually make their way into aquifers and stream headwaters.”

Now, Kim. According to the tabloids, “Kim Kardashian has had fat transferred from less desirable areas and put into her buttocks and hips. She has most likely had an open septorhinoplasty to slim the bridge of her nose. She has undergone breast enlargement and uplift. And she has most likely had laser treatment on her hairline to make it neater.”

So how have we arrived at a point where we’re attempting to contour nature the way a pop culture celebrity surgically alters her body?

We owe the start of lawn maintenance to the British aristocracy of the 1860s. These sophisticates first introduced the idea of the “weed-free lawn” in an attempt to show affluence. Homeowners were encouraged to display their wealth by keeping pristine grass lawns instead of using the space to grow food. Before this trend took over, people actually pulled grass out of their lawns to make room for weeds, which were often incorporated into family salads and herbal teas.

Today, homeowners proudly display their “green thumb” by making sure their yard is micromanaged like a Martha Stewart dinner party. Most have no idea that this carpet of chemicals ranks just above bare concrete as a pox on our planet.

To which we say: let thy lawn go native!* Not only will this positively impact the environment by dispensing with gasoline, pesticides, and unnecessary irrigation, you’ll immediately begin to enjoy the simple pleasures of fresh air, blue skies, and plenty of extra hammock time! Plus you’ll gain an appreciation for the beauty of wildflowers, and learn to love such growths as Digitaria Sanguinalis.

If you still have a hankering for landscaping, then it’s best to choose species indigenous to your area, rather than planting exotic trees and shrubs with no concern for their geographic origin. The local variety produces more insects, which in turn attracts birds that provide a check on pests. It is personalized conservation at its best, or what landscapers refer to as “biophilic design” – integrating nature into our modern environments.

It may be too late for Kim Kardashian.  But it’s not too late for us!

*Even better, knock down your house and live in the wild. Your neighbors might object; it can take awhile for humans to adapt to new situations. Offer them some tomatoes and beans from your new organic garden, and perhaps they’ll think twice about calling the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission to have you removed.

Henry Bergh? Who is that, you ask?

Here’s a hint: This man with the drooping mustache was a dog’s best friend. And a cat, horse, gerbil, parakeet…

Any animal you could possibly grow attached to owes a debt of gratitude to Henry for his dedication to their well-being. For on this day in 1866, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City by the indomitable Mr. Bergh.

After stepping in to prevent a carriage owner from beating his fallen horse (a not untypical scene in the mid-1800s), he realized there was much to be done to protect helpless animals. So he decided to resign his diplomatic post and devote the rest of his life to advocating for all creatures great and small.*

Among other achievements, “The Great Meddler” (as newspapers dubbed him for  upbraiding those who treated animals like slaves) developed the clay pigeon, to spare live birds from being blown to bits by thoughtless sport shooters.

To say he had a big heart would be like saying Lassie was just another collie. So in honor of this early animal rights activist — who, in true SuperOptimist fashion, turned unfortunate circumstance into positive action — we encourage you to partake in Wear-a-Mask Wednesday. (It only seems fitting that Henry looks a bit like a Bloodhound mixed with a Weimaraner, sporting a Yorkie Poo mustache.)

Want to go further? If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, a donation to his favorite organization would help matters.  Or if you’d like to assist animal shelters, that would be swell too.

*Fun fact: Henry got in a tussle with P.T. Barnum over the showman’s treatment of snakes and other “performers” — which Barnum stoked for its publicity value.  But over time, Barnum came to appreciate Bergh’s mission, so much so that he left sizable donations to humane organizations in his will and even erected a statue in Henry’s honor.

They who dream by day are more cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only at night. E.A. Poe*

We have written about dreams before, and for good reason. What else in life can offer so much pleasure and escape from the confines of reality, yet not cost a dime or leave a scar (assuming you don’t identify as a somnambulist.)

In addition to imaginative conjuring during the witching hours, it’s high time to celebrate the brain activity that occurs when eyes are open, yet focus on the external world is relaxed.  We may think daydreaming is a small part of our cognitive motoring, but it actually accounts for up to half of all our waking thoughts.

So rather than spend half your life with your mind-wandering in a state of semi-conscious incapacitation, exercising a bit of discipline on your flights of fancy can  prove most rewarding. “Deliberate daydreaming” is both good fun and 132% necessary to generate ideas that can propel the world forward. Especially as we enter a crucial period where our very lives depend upon solving big issues like economic inequality, climate change and how brick and mortar stores can overcome the amazon death grip.

Constructive daydreaming involves an intentional shift in focus away from whatever is in front of you (computer monitor, packed subway train, half-eaten fruit salad) to the “default mode network” of the brain, which can spark better ways of problem-solving. Pre-loading an area of interest before taking off for la-la land can focus one’s dreaming, making for time spent (somewhat more) wisely.

Of course, some people view daydreaming as a form of procrastination and insist that it’s bad for business.  The suits in corporate are apt to chastise an employee with their feet up, pencil slack, and a thousand mile stare on their face. But don’t let the nabobs of negativism get you down. Instead, hand them this article from a Harvard-branded “strategic facilitator” and tell them to leave you alone for the next several days.

And if you want to increase your Autopilot Cogitation Potential® a hundred fold, we suggest you pack your thoughts and fly to Daydream Island Resort, reopening this month after being whacked by Cyclone Debbie two years ago.

Finally, a word of caution: if you find it difficult to emerge from the spaced-out state once you enter it, you may have developed a condition known as “Maladaptive Daydreaming.” If you’re finding yourself drooling onto your desk, or idling at a green light until the driver behind you knocks on your windshield with a crowbar, there’s help for you here.**

*While some might question the benefits of daydreaming like Mr. Poe, his work was certainly the better for it. 

**Like all addictions, compulsive fantasizing must be self-diagnosed.