I strongly believe that a positive outlook can have a huge effect on a community. The power of one person, who is positive, can have such an important influence over others. We look back through the annals of history and see one man in India, a country more populace than the United States. We peer through the glass of time and see a man, small in stature, but big in heart. He leads his imprisoned country laden with taxes and a caste system to autonomy. Mahatmas Gandhi was the underdog, but he led his community, his country, with the knowledge that his outlook and viewpoint could affect everything and then he worked towards that goal.
About twenty years later we witness a reverend outline his dream. This optimistic dream, filled with freedom and equality, is not achieved quickly, but Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. does not falter, rather he presses forward and now half a century later we see the results of his outlook.
Now as our vision clears and we come to the present day, we see a city that has fallen on hard times, not unlike the rest of the country. With high unemployment, dilapidated roads and bridges, a growing drug problem and high crime, it becomes easy to be negative. This is my community. When one views it like that, it is hard to be positive. However, as I drive by my school I realize it is fairly new, and updated with technology, giving me the chance to earn the best education in the world. I coast past the grocery store and pull into a gas station. I have the blessing to buy all the food I need only a couple of blocks from my house. I am able to fill my car’s gas tank quickly and easily and go anywhere I want in this free country. Looking at my community this way, one can think positively.
Remembering the previous examples, I have a desire, a yearning to better my community, through my positivity. Optimism resembles a light, a light that can spread, lighting others’ torch of hope and of their own optimism. This is a light that can grow and restore any city to a thriving, shining city on a hill; then, this city can share with the next, and the next that can follow Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatmas Gandhi’s examples of helping a whole country. Perhaps my whole country will not be changed, or perhaps the whole world will be touched. It is the power of positive thinking; thinking that has more power than a rushing river.
We have examined two world-renowned reformers, but often the most inspiring and touching examples come closer to home. I mow lawns in the summertime, and put many hours into providing excellent lawn care. One such customer, an elderly couple, have truly shown me what an effect positive thinking can have. Their example, humor, and altruistic service to me make me think I should pay them, not the other way around. Over the years, both have been afflicted with countless trials, such as eye cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and being left childless. And yet, I have never heard one complaining word. After finishing my job, I try to talk to them a couple of minutes, and always leave uplifted. They are but one.
I have one neighbor who brings a smile and a kind word wherever she goes. Whether it is in hospice, school boosters, cancer fundraising, she has chosen to be positive and spends her days giving to others through her service. The power of one – that is what I want to be. I want to be the one who might not lead others to the sea for salt, or to Washington D.C., but at least one who will help lead the community past crime, to smiles and peace. There is no end to what optimism can change, the walls of hatred will crumble, and the road to happiness will be built. When I make the choice to be positive, and it is indeed a choice one must make, I am helping others to choose the same. When I make the choice to be positive, I better myself, my family, and my community. After a period of time, positivity becomes a way of life, just like it has for my neighbor, and my lawn customers. They smile, I smile, and together we help our community see the light. It only takes one to start the chain reaction. You do not need a crowd to begin choosing to be optimistic, but the crowd will follow when there is kindness and happiness.