Optimism, Success and My Mom

Self confidence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become self confident you need to do three things.  1) Become an optimist.  2) Face your fears and act.  3) Surround yourself with positive people.

My mother passed away on Friday.  We buried her today.  I blogged about her on January 2, exactly one month ago.

I was giving a talk to students at the University of Denver when she expired.  I began that talk by stressing the importance of taking personal responsibility for your life and career.  I said something like…

“Stuff happens.  Good stuff, bad stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, fair stuff, unfair stuff.  The important thing is not that stuff happens, because it will.  The important thing is what you do in response to the stuff – especially the bad stuff that happens.”

As I reflect on last Friday and the timing of my mother’s death, I keep coming back to The Optimist Creed.  It is one of the best ways I know to remain positive when tough stuff happens.  I am very sad about my mother.  I also know that she is at peace now after struggling with COPD, a very damaging lung disease for several years.  She fought hard.  I have never seen anyone with a stronger will to live.  But finally the disease won out. 

In order to honor her and her memory and the way she raised me, I choose to remain positive in the face of her death.  In the words of The Optimist Creed, I promise myself:

• To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
• To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person I meet.
• To make all my friends feel that there is something in them.
• To look at the sunny side of everything and make my 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 I am about my 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 a smile to every living creature I meet.
• To give so much time to the improvement of myself that I will 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.

It’s the least I can do for my mom.  She told my dad, my sister and me that she wanted us all to go on with our lives after she passed.  Therefore, I am choosing optimism in the face of her death.  I am looking on the sunny side by remembering the time I had with her and the 62 years she had with my dad.  I am wearing a cheerful countenance and smiling as I remember her strength and determination.  I am not angry about her passing.  I know it is a natural part of life.  Instead I am going to work even harder every day to improve myself and become the best possible person.  That’s what she would have wanted.

Google is my homepage.  I saw an anonymous quote on it on Saturday that seems appropriate here…

“May the pain you have known and the conflict you have experienced give you the strength to walk through life facing each new situation with courage and optimism.”

That’s my take on my mother’s passing.  As always thanks for reading.  I appreciate your support very much.


PS: My mother was a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  I have this funny feeling that the grit and determination they displayed in winning the Super Bowl last night was a tribute to her and how she lived her life.

PPS: If you want a copy of The Optimist Creed to frame and hang in your workspace, send an e mail to Bud@BudBilanich.com with the words “Optimist Creed” in the subject line.

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  1. May you find comfort in fond memories and the comfort of families and friends. Wishing you peace.

  2. May you find comfort in fond memories and the arms of family and friends. Wishing you peace.

  3. Thanks JLS:
    My mother is in a better place now. She has been released from her sickness and suffering.
    I appreciate your kind words.

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