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I was on a short vacation and away from work for a week. Breaking the routine and taking some time off after a busy schedule was quite refreshing. Now as I’m back to my typical days and have started doing what I usually do I also read few new blogs, including Optimism by matt.fraser. The message he has shared is very clear and I’d like to add my take on this by sharing my (latest) travel experience.

I was on a trip to my home country, Pakistan, for a family reunion. While on the way and during my stay there I had some free time to contemplate on some interesting facts which I’m sharing here to ask for your thoughts.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst

A couple of years ago while travelling to Islamabad with my family we faced a situation we never experienced before; due to the bad weather, our plane couldn’t land while the airport was at a distance of few minutes. It couldn’t even land to other two nearby airports, Lahore and Karachi. Flown from Jeddah, we finally landed in Muscat and we didn’t have enough in our hand carry bags and didn’t receive our luggage to access what we needed. Thankfully my sister, who was living in the same city, reached with much needed baby stuff. Our overnight stay taught us something for our future itineraries.

Such incidents are rare but what happens in life teach something new. I had learned my lesson i.e. be optimistic but don’t ignore the possibility of negative occurrences. Since that day whenever I travel I carry few basic things with me in my hand carry, including an extra pair of cloths, mobile charger and some eatables.

Do something instead of complaining

Just as Matt has mentioned “by planting flowers you can expect to see flowers”, taking action is necessary to see results. During travel I always felt bored and got tired for long travel times but now no more. My latest journey was one good example of enjoying my travel; I kept listening to some audios which helped me in utilizing my time better by learning few new things. I just had to carry a power bank to keep the mobile’s battery alive.

During my previous trip I carried a book with me but couldn’t read it properly due to the noise of some co-passengers talking to each other. So this time I already knew that instead of complaining about others I should do what I could for myself. Listening was easier than reading.

Adjust your angle to see differently

When we see things from distance they look different than they are in reality. For instance, at higher altitude away from ground (or at higher level of organizational hierarchy away from own staff) everything looks murky. Look at the images below which I took from the same window but at two different altitudes; one at ground and other before landing.

Ground View Space View

I was comparing these two views, from single viewpoint per se, and was thinking optimism and pessimism also have lot to do with how we look at things. And as Matt says, “there are good things and there are bad things that happen”, what has to happen will happen which we can’t control. What we can is to start looking at things positively.

Always look at overall situation

We are influenced by what we read, hear or see. The newspapers, radio, television and now social media report news which are either incomplete or we understand them differently than they are in reality. To analyze a situation, it’s better to see its context and look at overall picture. The news of isolated incidents paint the picture of a place or group of people in a way which could impact our perception, positively or negatively.

During my stay there I was talking to my parents and siblings that if we rely only on the mass media to get to know how’s life in Pakistan (or any other country/place for that matter), you may think it’s abnormal. However, when you visit / live there you find it flowing just normally.

Look at the picture below, I see some hope there. These plants in the lawn of my parents’ home are dry now but they usually turn to a beautiful garden as in second picture I took during spring.

Winter View

Spring View

In last I would suggest what Matt has suggested i.e. plant flowers to expect flowers.