Should I be optimistic or realistic, or should I find a balance between them both?
I think that you don’t need to compromise, that you can have 100% of each! Around the year 300AD the there were some Greeks called Stoics who explained this. They taught that you should believe that you will win in the end, but at the same time be totally realistic about what you are facing. Basically, short-term realism and long-term optimism.
A cool example of this was Ernest Shackleton, whose ship got stuck in the ice near Antarctica that forced him to pull off a heroic rescue of his men that took almost two years of freezing, boredom, personality problems, starvation, exhaustion, and countless dangers. You should really go read his story!
When his ship got stuck he said to the captain “What the ice gets the ice keeps”, knowing that the ice would slowly crush the ship and sink it. But he also told the captain that his men would make it home alive if they worked together and trusted him. He absolutely insisted that they be optimistic about their survival, but he was also very realistic about the many dangers they faced.
A poor example of the Stoics teachings happened later in the journey when Shackleton left some of his men on a small island as he and a few other men went for help across 800 miles of treacherous ocean in a small lifeboat they had salvaged. The man he left in charge would not allow the other men to hunt more than a 1 month supply of seal and penguin meat because he thought it was “defeatist”. He thought that optimism meant plugging his ears, closing his eyes to reality, and singing his happy song.
As you would expect, the men ended up waiting on that island much longer than 1 month, and this man’s lack of realism made their stay harder and more dangerous. He should have been honest about his situation, knowing that many things could delay their rescue.
The hardest part of this for me is the long-term optimism. How can I be optimistic if I don’t see exactly HOW I will prevail in the end? I think that this is where faith and choice come in. I just have to choose to believe absolutely that I will succeed. When a doubt comes into my mind, I must choose to cast it out and reaffirm my eventual success. Success might look different than I originally imagined! Shackleton’s original goal of being the first to cross Antarctica sunk along with his ship, but he still conquered by saving the lives of his men. Ironically he probably gained more fame for his amazing survival and rescue than he would have by just being the first to cross Antarctica.
At Ever Accountable we help people get away and stay away from pornography. If you are trapped by the filth on the internet, you absolutely can break free and stay free! If you aren’t trapped but know the danger, you can stay away. You must believe that you will succeed! At the same time, you must be completely honest about the reality of the demon you are facing. You can’t win without the help of others, and you absolutely can’t win without complete honestly because pornography thrives in secrecy. You will probably never be “cured” of the temptation, but you can fight it and beat it until your dying day. Choose to believe that you *will* win! Then look at the problem realistically. You probably can’t see your complete path to victory, but like Shackleton, you can take the steps that you do see. Never stop taking them. Believe and fight, and you will come off conqueror!