Thursday, May 7, 2009

The "Incurable Optimist"

Did anyone else watch Michael J. Fox on ABC Thursday night? I just love that man. During his Primetime Special "The Incurable Optimist," Michael traveled the globe to explore the enduring strength of hope. It wasn't anything life changing, but it definitely made me stop and think.

Most know that Michael has been living with the degenerative disorder known as Parkinson's Disease since detected in early 1991. Since then Michael has been learning to accentuate the positive and encouraging all around him to see the good in life. No matter his trials, his triumphant spirit and positive attitude have stayed the same.

During the one-hour special the actor and head of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research travels around the world, interviewing people from all walks of life, searching for the answer to one question. Are some people just more optimistic than others? And if so, why?

Throughout the show we go with Michael as he meets seven-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong to discuss what keeps him striving. He catches up with TV star and Chicago Cubs loyalist Bonnie Hunt at Wrigley Field, home of the hopeful team who has never won a World Series. He travels to the Asian nation of Bhutan where "GRS" or gross national happiness is a priority. He plays golf with famous actor Bill Murray, guitar with the talented Ben Harper, and even a man who hands out free newspapers each morning outside a busy New York subway station.

It was fascinating to follow him on this journey and learn more about the way people think. I realized that while I may not be an optimist, I am trying to become one. Medical experts explained how some of us simply think differently than others. It's not that I see the glass as half empty, it's just that I tend to focus on the fact that it's not all the way full. I see the potential for more, and that doesn't make me a pessimist. I'm content with hoping for a better future.

Michael put it into words much better than I can. "Optimism isn't about hoping for the end result. I'm content to enjoy the hope, without needing to be assured of the outcome."

If you missed this amazing special you'll be excited to know that he recently published a best selling book that I'll be purchasing this weekend. It's called "Always Looking Up: Adventures Of An Incurable Optimist." I'm looking forward to reading it and infusing my mind with more of his contagious optimism.


Kim said...

Sounds like a nice Mother's Day gift! :)

Heather said...

hehehehe....your mom is so sly!=)

Lindsey said...

I always had a crush on Michael J. Fox growing up. Family Ties really did it for me.

Florene or Lori said...

Due to the fact that I really had a lot going on in my life on that Thursday evening, I missed that special, but I have been following Michael's exploration into hope for a future that may or may not bring a cure in his lifetime. He is one of my heroe's, too. Another one is Paul Cardall, who suffers with CHD (Congenital Heart Disease) and is patiently and humbly and faithfully and optimistically waiting for a heart transplant in his home in Sandy, Utah. Visit his blog at "" -- he will inspire you, too.