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I was just thinking about an out-of-the-blue conversation I had at 2am a few months ago that has really stuck with me.

This guy who I only knew as an acquaintance wanted to “figure me out” and wanted to know my view on life, so I proceeded to tell him that it was to “go with the flow.” My life philosophy is that “whatever happens, happens” and that if something I’m looking forward to doesn’t happen, I’m optimistic enough to believe that something I don’t expect will happen and be just as good. This guy couldn’t seem to understand how I am so optimistic about life, which got me thinking about optimism and why some people just don’t have brains wired that way.

“I’m a realist” is the phrase I hear a lot of people say when giving reasons to reject optimism, but that makes optimism out to not being “real.” However, being optimistic can pay off when you’re in a bad mood and are trying to think the best of the situation. I always internally think “everything’s going to be alright in the end,” which has helped me out of some bad funks and basically made me out to be a slightly idealistic person. So, the question is, is it bad to be “hands off” – within reason – with your life?

I do realize that you can’t be completely “hands off” with your life, though, because there are some things that you just should do or they won’t happen. Those types of things would be anything having to do with earning a living or completing a degree – stuff that is pertinent for success. Although money isn’t everything, it is something you inevitably need in life for food, clothes, and general necessities. Earning money for both yourself and/or family is something that will always be there, therefore, being completely hands off doesn’t work in those situations.

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However, in matters of friendship or social events, sometimes it’s best not to think so much and to just let life happen. I know when I have high expectations for an event, a lot of times it doesn’t turn out how I expected and those expectations are what brought me down. For example, I know at times I’ve anticipated days in advance a lunch with a friend, but at the last minute that friend has canceled, leaving me with a lost day. However, the day’s not lost at 11am – there’s always hope for other things going right that day, therefore, calling up another friend and making plans is not out of the question.

“Going with the flow” doesn’t have to be so bad if you can just go with what life throws at you. Honestly, I think it makes you stronger if you can deal with difficulties with style and grace. So, girls, go out there and don’t waste your time bemoaning those “lost days” – get out there and make your own rules!

Some tips about “going with the flow”:

1. Don’t let yourself get mad when things don’t go as planned. It might not be exactly how you planned, but you are the master of your emotions. Think about what just happened and then act accordingly.

2. Always be prepared with alternate ideas for plans. Having flexible ideas in your mind, instead of just a set schedule, can take the stress off of you when things go wrong.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Seriously, some things aren’t worth worrying about. Canceled lunch plans or missing the train can be blips in your day, but there’s always a way to smooth things out. Maybe you had an important meeting – call in and explain the situation. For canceled lunch plans, you can always go to lunch by yourself and read the book you’ve been dying to catch up on, or call another friend. There’s always another way to view a situation and by seeing the glass as half-full instead of half-empty, life seems much easier in the long run. Renew your optimism and channel your strong, independent self!

For a different view on your perspective of the world, check out: Time And What It Means To Your Life

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How To Be Optimistic And Go With The Flow  was originally published on