While philosophers can spend an eternity wondering whether a glass of water is half empty or half full, the SuperOptimist sees it for what it is — a partially filled glass waiting to be sipped. 7 1/2 glasses more, and he will be well-hydrated for the day. 4 more after that, and he’s super-hydrated!
The philosophy behind the SuperOptimist glass view? If you don’t need to worry about it — then don’t! Let a committee of experts, professors, and doctoral candidates try to answer the unanswerable. Even the best minds can get stumped on the toughest problems, like these:
1. Why are there no words that rhyme with “orange”?
2. What color are things in the dark?
3. If Earth were struck by a giant meteor, who would survive and what would happen to real estate prices?
The experience of discovering something new may be the most dopamine-inducing activity on earth. What SuperOptimists have termed the “Eureka Cure” clears out the cobwebs, revs up the inner motor, and helps you remain a curious sort who relishes a discovery. (Especially one that 2 billion people haven’t already absorbed via memes on facebook).
The pleasure of the find may actually elicit a cry of joy, whether it be unearthing an old campaign button from the 1976 presidential election at a neighbor’s yard sale, or stumbling across a fact we weren’t aware of that brings clarity to strands of thought that had been rolling around in our heads for awhile. It can also lead to new experiences, experiments, or daydreams, all of which are welcome.
Of course, sometimes you don’t know what it is you’re seeking to discover, but you’d still like to elicit the Eureka reaction. In this case, you need a way to bypasses the biases — especially your own. One favorite is the Wikipedia “Random Article” button. Just today we discovered this place we had no clue about:
“Moneva is a municipality located in the province of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. According to the most recent census, the municipality has a population of 123 inhabitants.”
Here is the official seal of Moneva:
7 miles away is the Hotel Rincon del Cierzo,* a 10-room establishment. Among the activities one can pursue during their stay is birdwatching. If you’re lucky you might see one of the “ghosts of the paromo,” the Ricoti Lark.
Be careful if you pass by the local church in Muniesa. They like to toss a lot of rice and confetti at their brides and grooms.
Moneva! Muniesa! Wifi gratuito! Now what will we do with such information? Maybe nothing. Maybe we’ll move there. Who knows? But one thing’s for certain: Staying open-minded is the surest way to gin up enthusiasm for each new day ahead.
*The Hotel Rincon offers the following amenities:
- Salón-bodega de 60 m2, para 30 personas
- Cocina completamente equipada
- Piscina Cubierta, no climatizada
- Rústico y muy acogedor
- Wifi gratuito
- Aire acondicionado
- no se admiten mascotas
It’s only human to want to amass a fortune, and the quicker the better. Anyone that says they’d prefer to scratch out a living and barely make ends meet is what Italians call “un bugiardo.”
Investing in stocks, bonds or crypto is one way to attempt the speedy accumulation of wealth, although as with casinos, it seems the house always wins. We are repeatedly humbled by forces beyond our control, and timing the market only works for government officials, corporate insiders and that neighbor who smugly claims they bought Bitcoin when it was at $100 even though they’re still driving a 2003 Impala.
Playing the lottery can also provide a windfall — though the odds of winning are smaller than a neutrino.* Granted it does promote daydreaming as you imagine the possibility of a better life. But you have no control over those little numbered balls vacuumed from the basket; your two bucks are better spent at the racetrack, where at least you can tear up your ticket while seeing the beauty of horses in full gallop.
Which brings us to an activity that is affordable, offers you exercise and plenty of fresh air, and gives you the opportunity to add to your net worth. And that’s the search for buried treasure. Finding old coins, jewelry and relics from past generations is a heck of lot healthier than sitting around staring at a stock ticker. Why, a 1936 Buffalo nickel is worth more than 100 times it’s value today, and is sure to keep going skyward.*
All you need is a sense of adventure and the visual acuity to spot the precious items in your path. Consider Milly Hardwick from Suffolk, England. She was out detecting in a field with her dad Colin, when the 13-year-old made the find of the century. Or make that 130 centuries. The axes and other objects she found date from around 1,300 BCE. Milly turned in the find to official archeologists and is awaiting a giant reward.
Of course, Milly couldn’t have done it without her own metal detector.
We recommend a lightweight model that’s easy on the back, with enough features to make your search a fortunate one. Having done the research, we prefer the Garrett AT Pro. It’s an all-terrain detector that has 40 different settings to help you uncover various types of ferrous metals. And like the more expensive CTX 3030, the AT Pro is fully submersible up to 10 feet.
Venturing outdoors with your metal detector is a reward in itself, leading to aerobic fitness, healthier heart, improved circulation and flexibility, and increased vitamin D levels. Even if you find nothing, you’ve found nature — and she’s the greatest teacher of all.
So take a couple bucks from the clutches of Wall Street and invest in a metal detector. You’ll be glad you did.
*Neutrinos are the smallest massive particles currently measured and catalogued. The average characteristic size is r2 = n × 10−33 cm2 (n × 1 nanobarn), where n = 3.2 for electron neutrino, n = 1.7 for muon neutrino and n = 1.0 for tau neutrino.
**Remember to consult with a numismatic expert before polishing your treasures to a gleaming shine. The value of the old coins you uncover can be destroyed with too much scrubbing and scratching.
Life can become a bit tedious on the best of days, but during a pandemic that stretches on (and on), the walls can really close in. Yet despite the close quarters, the same faces, and a dearth of outside stimulus, you can still add adventure into your life.
We like to create a list of words to start the process. By mixing and matching, you can conjure an interesting exploit for yourself; one that can go a long way towards jumpstarting the adrenals. We advise taking a pad and paper and jotting down the first words that come to mind. Don’t edit yourself; the fun comes in seeing how you might configure some or all into your next escapade.
- hang time
How can number 1 and number 9 work together? What happens when “wager” and “hang time” are paired? Just considering the possibilities is enough to take us away from the headlines and springboard us into the unknown.
*Other words to consider: odds, uncertainty, randomness, hazard, and surprise.
The doorman. The custodian. The bartender, barista, night clerk, postal worker, tree surgeon. ‘Tis the season when many people expect a tip for the services they’ve provided during the year. At SuperOptimist headquarters, we couldn’t be happier about this. After all, you can’t take it with you, so why not spread the wealth? Especially to those who least expect it!
As an experiment, go into the office of your superior and give him $5. When he asks what it’s for, you can say: “That’s a tip for being such a good manager, enjoy!” It’s worth the $5 to see your boss try to figure out what just happened. Then try it out on the street. Pick a pedestrian at random and hand them $5. “That’s a tip for walking in the proper direction. Thank you!” Who knows? You might set off a chain reaction of perfect strangers tipping each other all over town!
A SuperOptimist measures true wealth by exactly how much they are ready to give away at a moment’s notice. This is calculated by a simple SuperOptimal math formula: (Give more) x (have less) = much better.*
Double bonus: you’ll end up with less clutter, and may even be treated better.
Every holiday known to man has started as a positive exercise and then been co-opted by corporate interests, sucking all the real meaning and joy out of it. To think that Jesus being born is a cue for Cyber Monday sales and drowning in credit card debt is a real head-scratcher.
That said, there’s no reason to follow the herd down to the mall every time some representative from the National Retail Federation yells “March!” Step aside, open the door for the mob, and walk due east to the nearest open space. There, think about a holiday honoring whatever interests you, and invite your friends, neighbors, the town alderman, and newspaper reporters over to celebrate.
Rhubarb Pie Eatathon
Thanksgiving comes but once a year, and with it the blessed gravy boat.
But why should this beacon of gastronomic goodness be relegated to brief appearances at holidays? Why not make the gravy boat a staple of every meal?
Consider the expression “it’s all gravy.” Meaning “an abundance of good things in a given circumstance,” it’s a key pillar in the practice of SuperOptimism. We take it to mean embracing each and every circumstance as a fortunate occurrence — no matter how screwed up, off-putting, or painful — since the mere fact of being alive (as opposed to the reverse) is a miracle in itself!
None of us are promised another day, much less another government holiday, long weekend, or winter break. So why not celebrate the good fortune of being conscious and functioning today with a deep and abiding gratitude. And gravy!
You have our permission to pull that gravy boat back out of deep storage, place it in the center of your dining table, and fill it to the brim with the following recipe. And if you’re thinking we want you to soak up a high fat, high chemical concoction until your heart stops on a dime, take note: the following contains no gluten, grains, corn starch, flour, or filler of any kind. We invite you to pour generously at every meal. Breakfast included.*
- 1 quart organic low sodium chicken broth
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 6-8 cloves peeled garlic
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons ghee, unsalted butter, or coconut oil
Start by dumping the broth, onions, garlic, and thyme into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on high. Then lower the heat to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until the onions and garlic are really soft. At this point, taste for seasonings and added salt, pepper, and coconut aminos.
Then pour everything into a blender, add 2 tablespoons of ghee, and blitz everything until it is uniform. Voila!
*But lay off the biscuits. Those things are like edible hand grenades for your body. Reach for some pineapple instead.
If the anas platyrhynchos (duck) could not dismiss water from his back as easily as a shake of the tail, he would wind up 80 pounds of soggy feathers sunk to the bottom of Old Barnes Pond. Maintaining flotation is essential to his, and our, optimism. So seek out your local ducks and see how they do it.
They don’t absorb the water; therefore, they don’t get weighed down. Now you try it. Let that big deadline, or relationship issue, or chronic worry about your 401K, roll right off your spinal column. Give that problem an extra back kick with your heel as it nears your ankle for good measure. Shake off your worries and dry yourself off in the sunshine.
In addition, ducks are expert at eluding their enemies, either by flying, swimming, running or diving for protection. And when it’s time to migrate, ducks fly in a “V” formation, taking turns up front to provide ballast for those in the rear. They know there’s no “i” in team. No “d”, “u”, “c” or “k” either.
Boy, there’s a lot to learn from ducks.
NOTE: Paddling furiously in circles while looking completely calm is another good duck move worth study.
Today being National Pickle Day, we’re reminded that we’re often in a pickle ourselves, and there’s much to recommend the experience.
We’re joined in this sentiment by such luminaries as founding father Thomas Jefferson, who wrote: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
Aside from Tom J., no one was a bigger fan of the pickle than his buddy, El Presidente #1, George Washington, who cultivated and collected both rare and commonplace plants in the gardens at Mount Vernon. Washington amassed a collection of 476 different varieties of cucumbers meant for pickling. A few recipes from his go-to restaurant can be found here.
The moral of this story is simple. If you have a very deep and powerful enthusiasm for something — even as common as a pickle — you must follow your joy. Follow your enthusiasm to full flower. It may lead to a lot more than just a tasty pickle; you might even start a whole new country as swell as the U.S.A .