In 1972, Johnny Nash, an American reggae singer-songwriter, brought to the world the incredible song, “I Can See Clearly Now.” The moving lyrics speak of hope and optimism. Amid our dark times, we must have the confidence that better days will prevail. As the lyrics state, sunshiny days are ahead:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Remaining optimistic during difficult times is no easy feat. It requires us to take a step back to see the big picture so that we can gain perspective on the areas of our life that we can control. Once we have a better grasp of the situation, and our role within it, we can begin to push forward and persevere. The power in Nash’s lyrics is that the obstacles are still present. They haven’t gone away; it’s only the fact that he knows what they are (he can see them) that allows him to overcome his obstacles. The dark clouds are blinding. 

Haven’t we all been in that situation? Where we lacked clarity, waned in our faith, and dipped in our optimism about the future. And then something changed, we saw the sun through the clouds, and we felt a hint of reassurance. 

Optimism is something that conditioning so that we can better pivot from uncertainty and doubt to assuredness and hope. The following challenge is meant to help you become more optimistic in the midst of clouds and obstacles, even when they won’t go away. 

  1. Reflect: Think of a situation in which you were recently involved where you felt a lack of control or simply overwhelmed. We often experience these moments quickly, and they have the potential to hijack our entire emotional state. 
  2. Identify: What were the specific aspects of the situation that caused you the stress or anxiety? Take a step back and identify the bigger purpose behind why you engaged in those aspects in the first place. 
  3. Do: Next time you start to feel stressed, remember the overarching purpose or goal that you set as you dig into the weeds of the scenario. The minutiae is what bothers us but our why will always put things into perspective. 

Pro Tip: Turn up the music. We are not all moved by the same songs or music genre; find the type that calms and relaxes you to discover the benefits of mood enhancing tunes. Studies show that music can have a powerful positive impact on us, including our hope and optimism. Just the right sound coming from your stereo, and you’ll be able to see the big picture in no time. 

Reach out and share your story with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following theschoolhouse302.com. It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.