Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Personal Strength of Optimism - Found Money

I love optimism! 

One reason - Right now I'm trying really hard to hit a home run in my business, and I know I can't do that without being optimistic. 

Plus, optimism is related to realism - a major theme in my life. My definition of optimism is the ability to see realistically BOTH the downsides AND the upsides.

And one more reason. Optimism manifests itself in so many different forms. Some of them are surprising and cool.

Like my friends Ron and Eileen. For gosh knows how long they've had a family tradition of looking for and collecting "found money." I was reminded of this when Ron and I were at a rest stop in Tennessee. I noticed him checking all the vending machines for change accidentally left behind. Also at that stop, he found a penny on the floor directly under a urinal.  

To assure readers that Ron diligently practices safe collection, I'm including Ron's verbatim account: "I picked up the penny under the urinal with a clean paper towel and presented it to Eileen wrapped in the towel. Once home, we dumped the penny directly from the towel into the sink and ran hot soapy water over it and scrubbed it with a 'throw-away' sponge. After a thorough rinsing with clean tap water, only then did I pick up the now whistle-clean penny with my bare fingers, dried it, and presented it to Eileen again -- with an explanation of the cleansing process I had taken." 

They are SERIOUS about found money. How serious?

Well, they put all the money they find under theater seats, in parking lots and other places in a piggy bank. Actually, by now it's an entire ARMY of piggy banks. When one bank gets full, they get another one, cooler than the ones before. 

I engaged both sides of my brain to rough-calculate how much moolah is stashed in these porcelain pigs. I figured several hundred dollars. And that doesn't count the inevitable old and rare coins, which are worth more than face value.

Of course the true worth of this lucrative habit goes beyond money. Clearly, it's symbolic of how they live their life. These heavy, coin-laden pigs are an expression of the way they value the small things in life along with the big things. They "treasure" things, rather than discount them. Life has its regular surprises - some awful, some wonderful. They acknowledge, affirm and save these little positive surprises.

Here's another Fortune Cookie for you (do you save them?)...

Acknowledge a thing’s value, and it will add meaning to your life.

The story behind the Fortune Cookies...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (Photo by my wife, Kathleen Scott. Used with permission.)


Sean said...

I haven't seen a wheat penny in years, but this week I found two of them in my pocket change. One was from 1944! It's hard to imagine such a thing staying in circulation for 66 years, since World War II...

Did you know it now costs 2 cents to make a penny, and 10 cents to make a nickel? As a result the mint is considering changing the metal content of today's coins. We may be looking at aluminum or ceramic coins in the future.

It's a shame the dollar coins never took off, those new presidential dollars are interesting.

Meredith Bell said...

I love the layers of lessons in this post, Denny. Thanks for all the valuable reminders, especially being optimistic and noticing & valuing the little things.