Governor's Message - July 24, 2017

Dana Lamon


Optimists and Change

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus believed that change was the fundamental essence of the universe. He wrote that nothing is permanent but change. The passage of two and a half millennia since his time has offered evidence that Heraclitus was right: The world is constantly changing.


This ever-changing world is an ideal place for optimists to shine their lights of positive outlook. Novelty and change carry with them uncertainty and discomfort. We move with fear and trepidation when we cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel. We imagine the worse, and what we imagine becomes our expectation. However, when optimists cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, they imagine the light. With that light of optimism, their path forward is guided. They can find their way no matter how quickly or drastically the world changes.


And how should Optimists [with an upper case "O"] respond to change? Members of our organization must react to the changing times, changed environment, and changing needs with the same expectation and enthusiasm as do optimists [with a lower case "o"]. First, because we should be agents of change and second because growth cannot occur without change.


The mission of Optimists is to bring out the best in children. We spot a group of children, identify a need, and establish a project or program to satisfy that need. We give of our time, treasury, and talent with the expectation of success. And how do we know when we have been successful? When we have made the situation or condition better. In other words, when we have brought about change. There it is. Optimists are successful when they are catalysts of change.


The second reason that Optimists should welcome change is that change is an opportunity to grow. It can also be a sign of growth because growth cannot occur without something changing. Consider your Optimist club, for example, and compare your current situation with the status of things a year ago. If you have more members or more money by which to serve, your club has grown; if you have established a new project or found more volunteers to work on existing ones, your club has grown. On the other hand, if your club has fewer members, less money, or offer fewer services for children, your club is being given a message: You must change what you are doing if you wish to survive. Stagnation likewise is a warning sign of eventual demise. Change in the positive direction is a sign that an organism has life.


Not only is change the fundamental essence of the universe, as believed Heraclitus, it is fundamental to the growth of Optimist International and the Pacific Southwest District. It is foolish to resist or fight change; in doing so, you work against the very existence of the organization. Optimists know well that we cannot let the mistakes of the past weigh us down and keep us from moving forward. We must also learn that we can miss the higher achievements of tomorrow if we hold on nostalgically to the successes of yesterday.

Positively Yours,

Dana LaMon

Governor PSWD

2016 - 2017

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