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Author's profile photo Faisal Iqbal

Take a Break and be Energetic and Optimistic

I was on a short vacation and away from work for a week. Breaking the routine and taking some time off after a busy schedule was quite refreshing. Now as I’m back to my typical days and have started doing what I usually do I also read few new blogs, including Optimism by Matt Fraser. The message he has shared is very clear and I’d like to add my take on this by sharing my (latest) travel experience.

I was on a trip to my home country, Pakistan, for a family reunion. While on the way and during my stay there I had some free time to contemplate on some interesting facts which I’m sharing here to ask for your thoughts.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst

A couple of years ago while travelling to Islamabad with my family we faced a situation we never experienced before; due to the bad weather, our plane couldn’t land while the airport was at a distance of few minutes. It couldn’t even land to other two nearby airports, Lahore and Karachi. Flown from Jeddah, we finally landed in Muscat and we didn’t have enough in our hand carry bags and didn’t receive our luggage to access what we needed. Thankfully my sister, who was living in the same city, reached with much needed baby stuff. Our overnight stay taught us something for our future itineraries.

Such incidents are rare but what happens in life teach something new. I had learned my lesson i.e. be optimistic but don’t ignore the possibility of negative occurrences. Since that day whenever I travel I carry few basic things with me in my hand carry, including an extra pair of cloths, mobile charger and some eatables.

Do something instead of complaining

Just as Matt has mentioned “by planting flowers you can expect to see flowers”, taking action is necessary to see results. During travel I always felt bored and got tired for long travel times but now no more. My latest journey was one good example of enjoying my travel; I kept listening to some audios which helped me in utilizing my time better by learning few new things. I just had to carry a power bank to keep the mobile’s battery alive.

During my previous trip I carried a book with me but couldn’t read it properly due to the noise of some co-passengers talking to each other. So this time I already knew that instead of complaining about others I should do what I could for myself. Listening was easier than reading.

Adjust your angle to see differently

When we see things from distance they look different than they are in reality. For instance, at higher altitude away from ground (or at higher level of organizational hierarchy away from own staff) everything looks murky. Look at the images below which I took from the same window but at two different altitudes; one at ground and other before landing.

Ground View Space View

I was comparing these two views, from single viewpoint per se, and was thinking optimism and pessimism also have lot to do with how we look at things. And as Matt says, “there are good things and there are bad things that happen”, what has to happen will happen which we can’t control. What we can is to start looking at things positively.

Always look at overall situation

We are influenced by what we read, hear or see. The newspapers, radio, television and now social media report news which are either incomplete or we understand them differently than they are in reality. To analyze a situation, it’s better to see its context and look at overall picture. The news of isolated incidents paint the picture of a place or group of people in a way which could impact our perception, positively or negatively.

During my stay there I was talking to my parents and siblings that if we rely only on the mass media to get to know how’s life in Pakistan (or any other country/place for that matter), you may think it’s abnormal. However, when you visit / live there you find it flowing just normally.

Look at the picture below, I see some hope there. These plants in the lawn of my parents’ home are dry now but they usually turn to a beautiful garden as in second picture I took during spring.

Winter View

Spring View

In last I would suggest what Matt has suggested i.e. plant flowers to expect flowers.

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      Author's profile photo Kamlesh Kumar Arya
      Kamlesh Kumar Arya


      Hi Faisal,

      Thanks for sharing your views and positive thoughts!

      Level of perception can give different views in our life.This starts happening if one is mentally strong

      Since life is uncertain, we have to accept every situation with both hands.

      I too have faced may incidents and these were miserable.However, whatever happens happen for the best.

      I really liked following line.

      Hope for the best and prepare for the worst : 

      Thanks again for sharing such a nice blog!





      Author's profile photo Faisal Iqbal
      Faisal Iqbal
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Kamlesh,

      Thanks for your comments. The life has ups and downs. When it's going good one needs to be grateful and when it's challenged one has to show patience. These two qualities of a human mind are amazing, those who appreciates the favors bestowed on them and are patient in tough times live happy.



      Author's profile photo Matt Fraser
      Matt Fraser

      Hi Faisal,

      Thank you for sharing your story and your lessons learned from your experiences. It becomes such a true thing: we create our own reality. If we see the world as a grey and dismal place, we are certain to have a grey and dismal experience of it.

      In fact, this reminds me of something an instructor told my class just last night (I'm taking yet another writing class -- it's a thing I do). She mentioned that when she first moved to Seattle (my city) about twenty years ago, all she saw was grey clouds. She saw it as colorless and a bit depressing, which is not an uncommon experience for newcomers who arrive in winter. But after a few years she began to notice that the grey clouds were not uniformly grey, that in fact there are a multitude of shades of grey (and no, not a reference to an infamous book here), some different enough that they really are different colors, if subtly different, and she began to see beauty in overcast skies. She began to notice how vibrant the green plants and shrubs were, even on grey days. Her attitude about the city changed, and now here she is, twenty years later, still living here and loving it.

      Of course, if she had arrived in summer, her initial experience would have been much different. 🙂

      So we look for the beauty in simple, ordinary things, and we will find beauty. We plant flowers, and we can expect flowers!

      Thanks again.


      Author's profile photo Faisal Iqbal
      Faisal Iqbal
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for another beautiful example of the perception. So basically it all depends on how we look at things around us. Those who are optimistic will find some hope even in apparently bad times, those who are pessimistic will see negative even in the best situations. To stay happy, we have to have positive attitude.



      Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo
      Michelle Crapo

      Very nice addition.   It is all a matter of perception.    I remember a boss of mine - I didn't really like this boss - telling me it didn't matter what I did.  It only mattered how people perceived me.  It is somewhat a true statement.

      "Hope for the best.   Prepare for the worst.  End up somewhere in between".

      True words.    It's hard to stay optimistic - especially when travelling.   All the grumbling, mumbles, complaining, and actual yelling at the poor gate people.   It's crazy.

      Great blog and great thoughts!


      Author's profile photo Faisal Iqbal
      Faisal Iqbal
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Michelle,

      It's correct, the work we do can be done by anyone, it's actually the behavior which differentiates a person from another. How one acts in (or reacts to) different situations determines his/her personality.

      Just yesterday I was advising my son, on crossing the street carefully, that though we have to always (try to) stay positive but shouldn't neglect the possibilities of facing negative.

      Thanks for your kind comments,


      Author's profile photo Gali Kling Schneider
      Gali Kling Schneider

      Great blog post Faisal - thank you.

      As I have my own travel time and usually adore reading but agree there are times it won't work. Are there any specific audios you recommend?


      Author's profile photo Faisal Iqbal
      Faisal Iqbal
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Gali! It was for the first time that instead of reading some book I listened audios, during travel, and I found listening a good replacement of text.

      There are quite a few speakers I listen to, in non travel time. But for travel I'd recommend motivational talks to keep self in high spirits (it's much needed during travel, as Jelena Perfiljeva has mentioned in her comment, because there are many factors to turn one's mood off).

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      While others already commented about positive outlook, I believe the first part "take a break" might be the most important here.What I've discovered recently is that even when it's not possible to take a long break (like a vacation), we can always find very small "pockets" of rest in the most difficult situation.

      Air travel is a frequently used example and is stressful to many people. You are already anxious about flying (and possibly suffering terrible death in a crash, if not in the boarding stampede), then your car won't start or there is traffic, then there is no parking, your boarding pass is suddenly missing, there are hundreds of people in line, etc. Things just keep piling up and, naturally, one ends up on board wound up tight like a spring and just waiting for some minor thing to trigger an outburst. But in the middle of all this we can use even the short moments when we just need to wait to take a much needed break.

      For example, even if you've been driving like a maniac because you're late, you still might end up sitting at a traffic light for a few moments. Instead of just boiling inside and yelling "come on, come on, come on!!!" (which will improve absolutely nothing), take that time to just breathe deeply and tell yourself everything will be fine. Then you can take another break while standing in line for security check, for example.And waiting for an elevator (because pressing that button twice will most certainly not going to make it move any faster) is a perfect opportunity for meditation. 🙂

      It is important to take a break from stress or a bad situation. If we don't do that we won't be able be energetic, much less optimistic.

      Author's profile photo Faisal Iqbal
      Faisal Iqbal
      Blog Post Author

      That's true; those small pockets of free time are also worthy. A friend of mine keeps few books in his car and since he has told me the reason of doing so I feel those who are conscious about their time do not complain of not finding enough time to do some thing. He reads while waiting in parking sometimes : )

      Travelling is never easy, actually nothing is easy. We just have to try our best to avoid negative experiences. Just last time while I was leaving for airport the taxi driver asked me why I was leaving so early knowing the flight time. I told him, "it's better to wait in the waiting lounge instead of in traffic or in the queue to get boarding or at the immigration counter, to stay relax and enjoy sipping coffee and reading / listening something".

      Since past few years, I'm not consuming my annual vacation quota at once. I just take some break after 2/3 months and this way feel could achieve more. Just last year, even though I travelled more than what I did in past, I still could have quite a few achievements as I've explained at Celebrating the achievements of 2017 and setting goals for 2018.