Six students were recently recognized by the Eden Prairie Optimist Club for their submissions in the club’s annual essay contest based on the theme: “How does an optimistic mindset change my tomorrow?”
Below are the winning essays (with headlines added by Eden Prairie Local News).
The Optimist Club sponsors the contest to give young people the opportunity to write about their own opinions regarding the world in which they live. The approach can encompass a young person’s personal experience, the experience of their country or a more historical perspective.
Judges picked the following winners (broken into two divisions, one for high school students and the other for middle school students) among the more than 40 entries submitted.
- First place: Tunde Olofinboba, Eden Prairie High School.
- Second place: Srijani Datta, Eden Prairie High School.
- Third place: Ronia Mukherjee, Eden Prairie High School.
- First place: Allison Schuessler, Central Middle School.
- Second place: Erin McCloud, Central Middle School.
- Third place: Ayobami Olofinboba, Central Middle School.
The students each won medallions and Amazon gift certificates for the honor.
In addition, the overall winning essay by Tunde Olofinboba will be sent to the Optimist district level to be judged along with winners from other Optimist Clubs in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Manitoba District. College scholarships are available for top winners at the district level.
“All students did a wonderful job of articulating this year’s theme,” said Ryan Affolter, chair of the EP Optimist Club’s essay contest. “They expressed themselves well through the essays and deserved the recognition. Young students today have so many fresh ideas about the world and their future. As Optimists, it is our goal to encourage them and do what we can to bring out the best in each of them. This gives them a wonderful opportunity to tap into their creativity and pursue possible scholarships at the same time.”
The Eden Prairie Optimist Club has participated in the essay contest for more than 20 years and has been active in the community since 1978.
Other programs and service projects organized by the Eden Prairie club include the Floyd Berntsen Annual Hooked on Fishing Event, the Annual Optimist Kids “OK5K” on the 4th of July, and the Eden Prairie Sings! competition.
To learn more about the Eden Prairie Optimist Club, visit its Facebook page.
A positive mindset helps make the world a better place
By Tunde Olofinboba First place (Division A)
Maintaining an optimistic mindset can improve not just the lives of individuals but the wider world. The power of optimism is so great that once someone tries to find the positives in a situation, they will find themselves becoming more optimistic in the future.
Having this optimistic mindset could make the opportunities available in the future seem endless and with great potential. Thriving during a pandemic, finding success in college, and hoping for the world to improve, even in difficult times, are all examples of how an optimistic mindset can benefit someone’s future.
Having an optimistic mindset could make the COVID-19 pandemic easier to deal with and thrive. The pandemic has obviously been a difficult time for everyone, with the deaths and closing of activities that we hold most dearly. My experience during the pandemic has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Most of my junior year was online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the middle of the pandemic, I fractured my ankle. This injury came at an inconvenient time, as it occurred the week before track and field officially started. Another issue was that I was unable to attend school in person for a period of time, even though my high school had started to allow students to return to the building. It was now much harder to interact with my teachers online if I had an issue that needed resolving. At first, I was frustrated, and I wondered why this injury had occurred to me. Afterward, however, I thought about my situation in a more positive light. I looked at how I would make the best of this situation and how I would take lessons from this difficult time.
Upon further reflection, I realized that I had become more self-reliant during this time, as I was able to successfully complete schoolwork without as much advice and input from teachers. I also improved my problem-solving skills by trying to acquire and transport important items while only having one working leg and a tiny scooter. When it seems that everything is going wrong in my personal life, I can look at this experience to remind myself that maintaining a positive mindset will help to make the best of this situation.
In a few months, I will be moving on to the next stage of my life: college. College is a completely different beast compared to high school. There are many more opportunities but also more pitfalls and struggles along the way. When I am at college, there will be no parents or the comfort of my hometown to help me. For some people, the culture shock that they experience in their first few months is so strong they often slog through the first year of college or even drop out.
However, in my case, I believe that I will find success in college from the very beginning because I will use my optimistic mindset to help me. Some issues that I may have to deal with include worrying about grades, finding activities to participate in, and finding a job. However, an optimistic mindset would make these tasks much easier. College will be a new challenge for me, but I am confident that I can excel with an optimistic mindset.
In the past few years, it seems like there has been a great deal of darkness in the world.
The pandemic has been paramount in the eyes of the public, but there have been many other major issues around the world. Whether it is terrorism, wars, or economic downturns, bad news seems to be all over the world. However, having an optimistic mindset could help to come to terms with the state of the world. Someone with an optimistic mindset would understand that there may be problems in the world now, but these issues will improve in the future. They may never fully go away, but based on past history, the issues will become less prevalent.
Having that positive mindset will make all of the negatives in the world more tolerable and make sure that the world does not despair and become paralyzed every time these events occur.
There are many different situations that a positive mindset could be to benefit someone, such as thriving during a pandemic, finding success in college, and hoping for the world to improve, even in difficult times. When I maintain a positive mindset, I am at my best in anything I do. No matter the adversity I deal with, this mentality is what helps to drive me.
Overall, if we are all able to adopt a positive mindset, the world will be a better place.
‘An optimistic mindset changes my tomorrow for the better’
By Srijani Datta Second place (Division A)
The word “optimistic” gets thrown around a lot. Especially in the last two years, with the pandemic, it seems as if we are constantly being told to stay optimistic.
Unfortunately, while we know a lot more compared to March 2020, the pandemic still rages on. With the two-year anniversary of our first lockdown coming up, questioning how an optimistic mindset actually affects “tomorrow” is now more important than ever. An optimistic mindset changes my tomorrow by giving me mental clarity, peace, and hope.
I am a busy bee, and I love it. I honestly think the urge to always be rushing around flows in my blood as oxygen does. Most of the time, I am thriving in this cutthroat busy lifestyle, but occasionally it gets to me like anything else. I start to feel very overwhelmed and nervous. Thoughts spiral in my mind, and I lose perspective. This is where an optimistic mindset comes into play. Society always tells us it’s okay to make mistakes, and nobody is perfect, and that is true. As J.K. Rowling says, “Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”
When I feel like a failure, an optimistic mindset allows me to see that everything will be okay. Optimism will keep everyone from spiraling into an abyss of mental health disorders. It will keep each one of our minds loving ourselves and not always comparing and analyzing to see how we stack up against everyone. Along with keeping our minds sane and healthy, optimism keeps us going. After the inevitable failure, an optimistic mindset is what will allow us to look for the next opportunity to succeed. It gives me clarity when I feel like a lone piece of wood drifting in the ocean. It calms me down and helps me understand what to prioritize. By believing that everything will be okay, my mind is put to rest, and I can function again.
Next, optimism changes my tomorrow because it gives me peace. No matter what your attitude is, if one does not put in hard work, they will not accomplish anything. Actions are what matter. I find it is a really common misconception to believe you are doing the right thing simply because you are thinking it. Practicing it is a whole other story. Unfortunately, actions are what change situations and circumstances. It is a clear case of practicing what you preach. I have always had a dream of becoming a doctor. I am taking classes that will help me achieve this goal and participating in extracurricular activities that are relevant as well. But, imposter syndrome often consumes me, and I start feeling inadequate. Mindset is crucial to internalizing a situation.
An optimistic mindset will allow you to turn tomorrow around and bring peace to your soul. I rely highly on optimism to deal with these feelings of self-doubt and quell them. Of course, not every day will be amazing, but an optimistic mindset allows me to maximize my potential of having a positive tomorrow.
Finally, an optimistic mindset changes my tomorrow by giving me hope.
Every Thursday, I take a chemistry exam for my college-level chemistry class. This class is very difficult for me, and I find myself doing poorly on these exams more often than not. In those moments, I feel like the world is ending. This seems very dramatic, and it is, but it is the reality of what I feel. An optimistic mindset helps me overcome this feeling of despair for tomorrow. It is the key to the locked box that is hope. Hope is what truly allows you to believe that you will get past these dark times, and optimism is the pathway to reaching expectancy. By being hopeful, I am able to set good intentions for the future, the most immediate of those being tomorrow.
Optimism has the potential to be a life-altering attitude for someone. Consistently, having an optimistic mindset for tomorrow will drastically improve your life. As a student, I try every day to have an optimistic mindset so that my tomorrow can be a good day.
An optimistic mindset changes my tomorrow for the better!
Statistics positively correlate optimism to better health
By Ronia Mukherjee Third place (Division A)
No one tells us how to live life. After a point, even children grow up to become young adults and start making decisions without much influence from their parents. Once the realization of our surroundings dawn upon us, we start dreaming with starry eyes about different possibilities to change our tomorrow for the better and drive us towards who we want to become. It begins with excitement as we start bursting with lists and plans to accommodate a new dream, may it be about wanting to start a new career path, to eat healthier, or to be accepted into one’s dream college. It’s like taking a regular walk on a regular day, and then suddenly, someone opens a door and splashes cold water that slaps us awake to the wonder around what can be possible.
But as our feet float back to the ground from the clouds, the question arises: “How can we make it real?” It soon boils down to manifesting our dream, and like all fine balances in life, this is hard. Analytically speaking, there are multiple steps that need to be executed in order to change ourselves and make our dreams come true. Changing our routine, changing our day-to-day activities, unsettling sacrifices, letting go, and the most grueling of them all, staying consistent until our dreams and reality collide; It takes a lot for a change to become permanent.
This is when it’s easy to give up and let the dream go, but an optimistic mindset questions us and forces us to think again. Optimism, defined by Wikipedia, is “an attitude reflecting a belief or hope that the outcome of some specific endeavor, or outcomes in general, will be positive, favorable, and desirable.”
An optimistic mindset doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome, but it gives us hope to believe that it’s possible. Without optimism, it becomes an easy feat to give up and forget the initial wonder and excitement we had when we wanted to change our tomorrow. Even in situations where life is as hard as it can get, and almost everything seems to be lost, an optimistic mindset sets the foundation for us to believe in ourselves and start over.
A perfect example of the virtues of an optimistic mindset is ingrained in the theme of the movie “La La Land,” directed by Damien Chazelle.
The story revolves around two aspiring and artistic characters trying to manifest their individual dreams: Mia wants to become an actress who gets roles, and Sebastian wants to be a jazz performer even when the world has moved on to a different genre of music. Both find each other in their moments of struggle, and it all comes together in a beautiful scene where Mia exclaims with hopelessness: “I’ve been to a million auditions, and the same thing happens every time: I get interrupted because someone wants a sandwich, or I am crying, and they start laughing! Maybe I am not good enough.” Although, the very next day, with support from Sebastian, Mia tries for one more audition, and through luck and the right people, this audition transforms her from a struggling actress to a successful one with film offers to shoot in Paris.
The movie never once painted her successes as quick, easy, or painless. She once even admitted that the reason she wanted to stop is because “it hurts too (…) much.”
But being an artist is what Mia dedicated six years of her life to. It’s her dream, and it is what she wants to be in her every tomorrow. If she had not cultivated enough optimism within her to push herself to go for that audition, she might have never become the successful actress she is.
Statistics also positively correlate optimism to better health.
An article titled “Optimism and your health” by Harvard Health Publishing touches on various psychological studies, including a study done on cardiac patients. A study found that optimistic cardiac patients were half as likely to require re-hospitalization, after coronary bypass surgery, than pessimistic patients.
Another study conducted on 6,959 students of the University of North Carolina found pessimistic students to have a 49% higher death rate than optimistic students. Although don’t be misled into thinking that being optimistic is always having a “happy face” and “(feeling) any kind of negative emotion (is) being pessimistic.”
Ignoring legitimate emotions and glossing over realities is often referred to as false optimism or “toxic positivity.” Acknowledging melancholy feelings and then adding realism to the situation and attempting to solve it with one’s own pace and understanding is real optimism. I will end with a forever quirky lyric by McLandburgh Wilson: “The optimist sees the doughnut / But the pessimist sees the hole.”
Optimism is a long journey, not just a destination
By Allison Schuessler First place (Division B)
Optimism can change your perspective, which can, in turn, alter your future. Being optimistic can help with everyday struggles such as motivation, self-confidence, and self-comparison. You decide your future. An effort is essential in order to be successful, and it’s really hard to put in the effort with a negative attitude. It’s not always about the outcome, though.
The emotions you feel along the path of your life are what make life worth living. When used to your advantage, optimism can be a tool to enhance your life and mental health. You don’t have to be a born optimist. It’s a lifestyle that people have learned and adapted to over time. With a little bit of elbow grease, you can shift your mindset using optimism.
Being optimistic is taking a chance, trying something even if it seems impossible. You have to remember that everyone starts somewhere, and without starting, you can never expect to go anywhere. Not everything is going to be easy. You’re not going to find yourself ready to overcome obstacles every day. However, you can’t just sit around waiting for motivation as life passes you by. If you don’t take action towards the things you want, they will forever be unreachable.
Self-confidence is key when it comes to optimism. For many people, fear holds them back. What if I try to be optimistic, but I fail miserably? Wouldn’t it be better to just prepare myself for the worst-case scenario? No! You have to take chances with your emotions. Optimism can make you a lot happier if you let it. Things aren’t always going to go perfectly, but there is always a bright side, and optimism is all about trying to find it. Think of a rainbow. Many people associate rainbows with happiness and optimism. Now think of a rainstorm. That might be what you picture when I talk about the pessimistic point of view. They might both need rain, but rainbows are not possible without sunlight.
This is how I picture optimism. It is not that optimists never experience challenges; it’s that they always find the light in order to make a rainbow out of the situation.
Self-comparison is a reality that almost everyone faces. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve most likely compared yourself to someone else. It doesn’t matter who, when, or how. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. They are both sweet but very different. Think of comparison as dropping the fruit. It bruises, just like our minds. When we compare ourselves with others, we are taking a toll on our mental health. Luckily, optimism can help. By being more optimistic about yourself, you might find yourself looking for outside validation less often. Surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial to your mental health and optimistic goals. It is really hard to be optimistic around a huge group of pessimists. However, surrounding yourself with a positive group of people can tremendously improve your mental health and push you towards being a better, optimistic person.
In conclusion, no one is perfect, not even optimists. Generally speaking, what sets optimists apart is their drive to better themselves. They usually aren’t always motivated, they typically aren’t extraordinarily self-confident, and it is not like they’ve never compared themselves to others.
An optimistic person is willing to look for a brighter future even when everyone else would seemingly give up. An optimist does things not because they are easy, but because of the positive effect, they will have in the long run.
So how does an optimistic mindset change my tomorrow? By being optimistic, you are manifesting good things. By being optimistic, you are setting yourself up for success. By attempting something a pessimistic person thought was impossible, you’re already ahead. You have no chance of going anywhere unless you at least try, but the sad thing is most people don’t. People have become accustomed to playing it safe and just giving up.
Trying is not easy, but you would think giving up on something valuable would be harder.
Optimism is a choice. When making that decision, don’t just think about the work; think about the rewards. Optimism allows you to feel joy more immensely and pain as a learning experience.
Remember, optimism is a long journey, not just a destination.
Optimism is the key to unlocking the next chapter of your story
By Erin McCloud Second place (Division B)
The future is coming quickly. Whether you like it or not, tomorrow is only hours away, no matter the time of day.
But how do you achieve your dreams of tomorrow? What steps do you need to take to fulfill your dreams and be happy? An optimistic mindset is what you need. Along with a dream or a goal, you can do anything if you think on the bright side. You are the only one who controls your tomorrow and what that looks like. You have the chance to choose your own path, your own story. You decide when to turn the page and when to put the book down for a while. You are the only one who has a say in your story, so how can you control that? With an optimistic mindset and some determination, you can do anything with your story.
Well, if you want to continue your story, the number one requirement is an optimistic mindset. But what is that? An optimistic mindset is a way of seeing the good in all things. With an optimistic mindset, you believe everything will turn out well in the end, even if you hit a rocky path. Unfortunately, this world is full of both optimism and pessimism. A pessimistic mindset is a way of seeing how all things can end poorly. Sometimes we all experience these thoughts, but a true pessimist always thinks of the worst. They believe in the worst outcomes of situations that may not even be negative. The good news is that anyone can be an optimist. An optimistic person is typically a grateful person with big dreams. They can move on from a tough situation and learn from their mistakes. It’s important that more people strive to be optimists because optimism is a great way of life.
Why is optimism important?
Not only does it make you a happier and healthier person, but it can also help lead you to success. With optimism, you see the good in things, so an optimistic person perseveres through whatever they may be experiencing. They know that in the end, they can and will make it to their goal. An optimist never gives up when things get tough. They are more likely to persevere until they reach their goal. Whereas someone who is pessimistic may just give up after a while. It’s easy to say that constantly looking for the bright side of negative situations is hard. Sometimes it may even feel impossible to get out of trouble. But an optimist can always find a way to keep going. They weigh the pros and cons of whatever outcome they are aiming for, and they try, knowing that one day they will succeed.
Now you know what you need to change in your future, but how exactly does optimism affect this? First of all, optimism pushes you to be the best person you can be. With that, you have higher chances of getting a job you have always wanted, or maybe you really want to perfect your recipe for spaghetti. Optimism can help you there too. Either way, you will be a happier and healthier person in the long run. Optimists are very good problem-solvers and are typically very flexible. Those traits are very important in social situations, so optimists have less of a struggle making friends. Optimism can’t completely change your tomorrow, though. You have to change it, and to do so, always choose optimism.
Things may not always look bright. But remember, you write your own story, and it is up to you whether the next page is what you want it to be. There will always be room for your story to be improved, and by pushing that, you will improve.
Optimism is the key to unlocking the next chapter. The happier you are, the better the ending will be to your story. Optimism is what gets you there. Optimism is what you need to be happy. A happy person is a healthy person, and a healthy person has so much room to grow and change their tomorrow. It’s up to you to change your life. So go out and do what you love, and remember, always choose your own path and think through your decisions with an open mind and an optimistic mindset.
An optimistic mindset offers a path to a brighter future
By Ayobami Olofinboba Third place (Division B)
Sustaining an optimistic mindset holds a great impact on the future.
Through being an optimist, it leads to having an impact even if the future may not be well defined but is shown to be of happiness in light. When a person keeps an optimistic mindset, it leads to them growing into a hopeful person in the future and having a positive impact on the people around them, leading to a favorable view of that person to the world around them.
An optimistic mindset not only leads to an improvement in a mental mindset but still keeps the qualities necessary to not be blinded from the truth. An example of this is if a person showed that on a failed idea, there was still a possible outcome that would benefit the project. This would lead to a later moment in time that the person and their group members would still value the failed idea while still acknowledging that the idea might still have some good characteristics.
In the example above, if the person had shown the characteristics of a pessimist mindset, instead of encouraging and showing an opportunity for improvement on the idea, they would have instead discouraged the idea and result in omitting important information and possibly forgetting a good idea.
Sustaining an optimistic attitude also contains other impacts in a future situation. While being in a difficult situation, an optimistic attitude can aid in the wellness of others and oneself. Through this, it can also counter the negative effects of possibly leading to depression and anxiety. This attitude helps aid in the process of figuring out how to navigate in the ever-changing situations life has to offer.
To have an optimistic mindset does not define who a person is. It is possible to still have an optimistic mindset even if the person may not necessarily be optimistic. The ability to control personal emotions relies on self-control and self-awareness. Through the eyes of a person who is an optimist, the world is filled with many things that stand out as a beacon of hope even through times that may seem hopeless.
In a family, having at least one person who is active with an optimistic mindset combines the family into one. Being able to show what the world has to offer does not only offer great insight but also compacts information in a way that is useful.
In the future, having an optimistic mindset offers many benefits, for it allows for the cultivation of ideas and thoughts. This attitude offers benefits in allowing the brain to process information in a new and different way. Allowing this mindset to continue to grow allows for the addition of a variety of things that impact the daily lives of people.
As a basis of the items listed above, it can be seen the impact an optimistic mindset has on the future. By allowing an optimistic mindset to fully reach its full potential, it is shown that it allows the cultivation of ideas and thoughts. Through this basis, it is also shown that it is more advantageous to supply an optimistic idea instead of a pessimistic idea.
In addition to the fact that an optimistic mindset is more advantageous than a pessimistic mindset, it is also the same in a group environment. This correlates to the fact of self-motivation and endurance, allowing for failure to contribute to a greater path in the future and being able to try again on a failed idea.
In conclusion, when a person keeps an optimistic mindset, it leads to them growing into a hopeful person in the future and having a positive impact on the people around them, leading to a favorable view of that person to the world around them. This is shown through how being able to keep an optimistic mindset allows a person to be able to revive a failed idea. This leads up to that person inspiring those around them to learn from that idea, allowing them and others to continue to expand and grow their ideas in the future.
It is quite obvious that keeping an optimistic mindset allows a person to expand into their tomorrow and their future.
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