Over the years, I think most people who know me would say that I am a pretty upbeat, optimistic guy. Don't get me wrong, I have a cynical and sarcastic streak a mile long, but I think it is tempered by my ultimately positive outlook.
I am often telling people that they can reach their goals, accomplish their dreams or persist toward their objectives.
On any given day, I am feeling pretty good and even on the not-so-good days, I often say that I have no complaints. Friends who have known me for a while have heard me say, "At least I don't have to dig ditches or clean crime scenes for a living..."
Not to be glib, but that is my way of reminding folks that I don't feel I can complain when there are people in this country who have genuinely difficult or thankless jobs to perform every single day. And I know that there are people out there who are far less fortunate than I. But that is just part of it.
I am happy most days because I realize what an amazing time we live in. We have greater access to information, food, culture, and travel than at any other time in recorded history. In fact, in all but the most oppressive countries (and even many of those pale in comparison to societies past), people can connect to the world. And today that means having access to more resources and opportunities than most can even grasp.
Sure, it is not all rosy. We still suffer from war, famine, and injustice. But in today's connected world, it is hard to imagine that we cannot do something about those things, if we only decide to do it.
Think about it, in the past forty years we have seen the end of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union, apartheid in South Africa and many autocratic regimes around the world. In those same years we have also put an international space station in orbit, landed a rover on Mars, criss-crossed the planet with the World Wide Web and mapped the human genome. And that's what makes me optimistic.
As was once said by Napoleon Hill, advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." And perhaps there has never been a time in the history of the world where that has been more possible.
So maybe that's it. The reason at the heart of why, on any given day, I can be happy is because every day I know there is the hope that we can each achieve those things we dream about, if only we allow ourselves to dream.