The publishers of my book, Listful Thinking, recently asked me to take a look at a new book they’re publishing called 10 Habits of Truly Optimistic People by David Mezzapelle. I love these sorts of books like The Secret or Gretchen Reuben’s Happiness Project – so I was excited to check it out. I’m a big believer in the power of positive thinking, I try to remain optimistic even when things are looking bleak.
The following excerpt from 10 Habits of Truly Optimistic People really spoke to me. It seems like this man has the worst luck in the world – but then he turns it all around and lives a fulfilling life in the end. All because he didn’t lose sight of optimism and positivity – and feeding his soul. I think we could all learn a lesson here.
Meet Frank Stranahan, and his son, Lance
“Frank’s father was the co-founder of Champion Spark Plug Company, so obviously he was born into a wealthy family. At an early age, Frank found his passion in golf and became known as the best amateur golfer of his era and even to this day. In addition, he developed an excellent physique from vigorous weight training. He believed weightlifting would make him a longer hitter, and he was the first person ever to combine strength training with golf. As a result, he earned the nicknames “Muscles” and “The Toledo Strongman.”
By the time Frank was in his thirties, he had married the woman of his dreams and become a father to three sons. He retired from golf and went back to school, earning a Master’s degree from Wharton and began to embark on a business career. Shortly after, he encountered his first real tragedy. His oldest son was diagnosed with bone cancer and died months later at the age of eleven. Less than ten years later, his wife developed pancreatic cancer and died at the age of forty-six. If losing his wife and son wasn’t devastating enough, his other son died of an overdose months later as well (for overdose resources, please read this guide). Frank also had tremendous business setbacks during this time period. He was a major shareholder in several large corporations when the stock market crash occurred. He ended up with millions in debt.
The amazing thing about Frank was that he always remained positive and upbeat, never displaying anger or depression. He had taken up long-distance running and would get up every day at 3 a.m to run at least fifteen miles. He never deviated from his diet and weight training regimen, and he eventually completed more than one hundred marathons. He continued his Spartan regimen and only spoke in inspiring and positive terms. He used to carry around a notebook filled with his favorite quotes, and he would lecture his only remaining child on the importance of setting goals and never being negative.
As he approached his late sixties, he became interested in bodybuilding competitions and began to compete in them. Frank was in great shape, and many of the gym members were inspired by the sight of a sixty-eight-year-old man training with such high intensity. They would push him, “Come on Frank, do more, do more!” He ended up winning several titles, including more than sixty national bodybuilding championships and continued to compete until his late seventies.
Remarkably, even after health setbacks in his 80s, he didn’t get discouraged at all. He continued to work out enthusiastically until a week before he passed away! He even had his caregiver drive him to the gym when he could no longer drive. What an animal!
Franks son, Lance, is a friend and a coauthor in our next book. Lance tells us that he feels blessed that when he has a tough day, or is in a tough situation, that he stops and thinks about his amazing father and the source of inspiration and optimism that his legacy shares with all of us.”
For more uplifting stories like this – be sure to check out 10 Habits of Truly Optimistic People by David Mezzapelle.
When I’m feeling down there are a few things I like to do to pick myself up:
- Make a cup of tea. This is a guaranteed way to brighten my day.
- Try to get a little perspective on my problem. Is there something I can do to make it better? Is there a silver lining?
- Read my gratitude journal. Remember all the things I am grateful for.
- If I’m having a really bad day, sometimes it’s best to just go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day and a new start!
What do you do to keep yourself optimistic?