“Optimism is our instinct to inhale while suffocating,” wrote Guillermo del Toro in Time’s 2019 Optimists. Inhale or die, he writes.
I am an optimist.
While I’m realistic enough to understand that failure exists and there are things that aren’t worth the effort, I’m also optimistic enough to know that some things are. And those are the things we have to work towards, to fight for.
Many people talk about Steve Jobs’ triumphant return to Apple after he was fired. But we forget that there was more than 10 years in between. That Pixar’s wildly successful Toy Story was released in 1995, 10 years after Jobs’ departure from Apple.
We forget that all these successful people that we bring up in conversations — Branson, Winfrey, Buffett — took years to build whatever type of empire they have today.
We share success stories, after the fact. We talk about those who have reached the peak, forgetting all the winding paths and steep climbs it took to get there.
It may seem like everything is over when we feel like we’re drowning. I’ve been there.
But sometimes all it takes is having the strength to tilt our heads back, open our mouths and breathe. When the choice is between inhaling or dying, I choose to inhale.
Inhale, recover, then muster up the strength to swim back to shore.
In the midst of failure and loss and all the supposedly ugly things that life throws at us, there, at the bottom of Pandora’s Box, is hope.
We just need to give it time. And we need to find it in ourselves to prevail.