Cultivating Conviction

I like to think of myself as a realist. It’s the perfect cover . . . the perfect label to explain away my comfortable pessimism. There never seems to be much room for hopefulness, optimism, or even a compelling human interest piece. I’ll be the first to admit it. Sometimes, I wallow.

Yet every now and again, I stumble across a bit of inspiration that even I can’t sweep under the rug or ignore.

Just recently I learned of a woman who was denied the privilege of education in her youth and subsequently never learned to read. She’s tackling this injustice by enrolling in classes and learning to read at 90 years old. Ninety! Consider my faith in humanity fully restored.

I admire the kind of conviction it takes to accept a personal challenge even when there’s nothing to prove. I’ll laud the type of character required to persevere, adapt, and pursue personal growth until I’m blue in the face.

When I ruminate on that ninety-year-old new reader, I find myself thinking how exceptional she is. What in her life and circumstances developed such strength of character? Was she born with invincible conviction or was it cultivated?

If I ever hope to resemble my ninety-year-old role model, I have to start cultivating by pulling the weeds of my pessimism and sowing seeds of conviction now. Truly, my perspective is a choice, just like any other. It’s my responsibility to take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to something greater than what is comfortable. Changing my mindset has the potential to develop within me a depth of character that might, one day, inspire another generation. It’s time to get started.