The Optimist Creed

Earlier this week, I was invited to speak to the Optimist Club of Albany at their regular meeting in the Sizzler Restaurant.  I routinely speak to service clubs because I think these talks are a good way to explain what the City is doing and answer questions or address concerns of people who are active in community affairs.  I realized the title of my talk may have been a little inappropriate when, after the Pledge of Allegiance, the dozen or so members in attendance began reciting the Optimist Creed.  My talk was entitled, “Ten Questions to Help You Judge If Your City is Going Bankrupt,” and the Optimist Creed is as follows:

Promise Yourself…

  • To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  • To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
  • To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
  • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
  • To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
  • To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
  • To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
  • To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.”

I really like talking to people who have no time to criticize, partly because it’s rare for a city manager to encounter people who honor this creed.  The title of my talk may have sounded pessimistic, but the general message was that the City of Albany is not going bankrupt and that there are a number of ways citizens can find that out for themselves.  City managers have a vested interest in optimism about the community’s future, so it’s a good idea to be able to verify information independently whether one is an optimist  or not.

It’s been awhile since I’ve patronized a Sizzler, but I’ve found myself inside Albany’s twice in the past week.  I knew I was in the right place when I walked into the meeting room and the first Optimist I saw was wearing an Oregon Ducks T-shirt.  I soon learned after sitting down next to him (naturally) that he started delivering the newspaper to my home a few weeks ago, which explains why my paper is now on my porch every morning instead of getting waterlogged on the lawn.  Frequent readers of this column will understand the importance of this issue.

I am sure Optimist Club members have their bad days, but everyone I spoke with seemed happy, engaged, thoughtful, and kind.  The meeting was a good reminder that many people in our community are positive and caring most of the time.  I also appreciated hearing the Optimist Creed and hope I can apply it in my own life.