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Optimism | English Essay

Optimism | English Essay

It's officially September - and that means it is time to head back to school (yay..)!

With the start of school, means the onslaught of essays and work to be done. A good while ago, I uploaded my English 'Things That Make Me Happy' Essay and considering it is one of my most viewed posts EVER, I thought that I might help you out again.

For my English Summer test (in fifth year) we were asked to write an essay on optimism - and considering that this is quite a generic title, I had a feeling that you could use it as an example.

Good luck!

(SIDE NOTE: This was meant to be written as an article from a magazine, but you can take out those little bits if they don't suit what you are looking for!)


When describing someone, you can usually nail down their personality in a few keywords. You are either emotional or stoical; kind or cruel; confident or shy. It can be quite hard for the person themselves to start listing off their own traits; as you usually either see the best parts of yourself, or the worst parts.

Therefore, you need to phone a friend, so to speak, and ask them to give you a rundown. Lacking that, you can try out one of the personality quizzes we have for you at the back of this very magazine. Admittedly though, the friend is probably better.. Let’s just hope I don’t get killed by my editor for that one.

Now, I may be wrong, but usually your friends stick to the more basic traits and are usually very, very nice about what traits encompass you as a person. Behind your back, things might be a little bit more honest. When actually trying to figure out what people think of you as a person, you do not want what they read out at your funeral. I know that sounds a bit harsh but I doubt that every John, Mary and Catherine is as lovely and kind as the priest might swear.

With all the personality traits that these friends can pick out of a hat, optimism is hardly ever one of them. That is because, in my humble opinion, optimism is more of a decision than a trait. Which, in turn, means that technically everyone can be optimistic. Then why is it that few are?

The world can generally be categorised into ‘glass half full’ and ‘glass half empty’ kind of people. Like with anything, there are usually a number of strands branching out off of these definitions. A person can either be incredibly pessimistic, reminiscent of a certain Mr.Scrooge, or they can be pessimistic about the weather tomorrow.

On the other end of the spectrum, people can either be delusional in their optimism, a certain Gatsby may fit this category; and then others can be optimistic about their latest maths result. I think I might fit into the latter one there…

I would personally vouch for optimism as a general thought process and frame of mind. I know that seems like the obvious choice, but you would be very surprised. Optimistic people tend to get further in life than those who favor the alternative.

Optimism tends to shine through in various different ways in various different people. In hope of cementing my statement, let me prove the importance of optimism by showing you those who have succeeded thanks to it.

Turn your mind back to a few years ago when everyone was captivated by the Harry Potter franchise, both books and films. Those were the days when the whims of J.K Rowling dominated the lives of so many.

We have all heard the story of how she was rejected by 12 different publishing houses in her quest to let Harry Potter see the light of day. Do you think she did that with a pessimistic view on life? That as each publisher rejected her, she survived on a breakfast, lunch and dinner of pessimism. I seriously doubt that. I rather believe that as each time her work was turned down, it made her even more determined. That’s what optimism does, it drives you on and gives you the confidence to keep on going.

Now look at J.K Rowling, who still retains a net worth of £1 Billion all these years later. Of course, it’s not all about the money… But it certainly does help.

You can find the same kind of inspiration in Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs; and in almost every one who has attained that kind of success. Without optimism, you don’t even have the kind of positive outlook that makes you want to achieve.

Alright, hold on to your popcorn ladies and gentleman, and prepare yourself for a bold statement.

I consider myself to be an optimistic person. I guess I never really thought about it before now, but beyond all reasonable doubt, I do believe it to be true.

I am no Scrooge, nor am I Gatsby. I sit somewhere solidly in-between. I have a lot of hope and dreams about the future and I am generally quite positive about those dreams coming true. This doesn’t mean that I greet every Monday morning with a beaming smile; but I do try to keep a general ‘glass half full’ mindset.

Even when I am greeted by an equally grim and miserable landscape almost every morning of the week; I try not to let it dictate my actions or emotions for the rest of the day. And no matter what my mood, I will always find the strength to laugh about something.

Actually the more pressing issue is that I usually can’t stop laughing once I have started. We’re talking about full on tears, stomach aching laughing. It is completely and utterly awkward and embarrassing, because when I start laughing there is no clear sign as to when I will stop. But, is there any more optimistic state than laughter?

I know that Keats may challenge me on this point, and I know that the song of the Nightingale is quite beautiful, but I don’t believe that there is anything more joyful than the pealing bells of laughter ringing out across the dullest of rooms.

For in optimism there is magic, and laughter is definitely quite magical. Or perhaps, I’m just optimistic about my own optimism.. Who knows.

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