Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thinking Like a Cat

Yesterday I watched my cat chase a lifeless toy bug around the house all morning. She was relentless; the more the bug didn't run away, the more she attempted to attack it and make it move. Finally, I hid the bug on the counter, but then I found her a few hours later, having stolen it back and continued on with her chase.

Sure, she's just a crazy-fluffly haired cat who likes to eat my cell phone and steal my glasses when I fall asleep on the couch at night, but as I watched her, I considered that fact that she also is an optimist, as I'm pretty certain that optimists do not give up. That the word "no" is not in an optimist's vocabulary.

I just started reading the book Hard Optimism by Price Pritchett. One of the first questions Pritchett asks is what's more important, thinking positively or not thinking negatively? I paused on that for a moment. Is there a difference? Pritchett says there is -- that the real heart of optimism is learning to avoid and eliminate negative thinking rather than pushing yourself to think positively.

I realized I bug my kids about this one all the time -- that whenever they say they can't do something, I assure them that they can and then promptly make them do whatever it is. But I'm not so good about this myself.

But my cat does not think negatively. She doesn't hear the word no. If she can do it, then certainly, I can. So, today, I'm all about the word "yes," (though, if you should find me chasing toy bugs around the house, then please feel free to tell me that this little optimism experiment has gotten way out of hand! )

How about you? Have your pets taught you anything lately? Do you hear the word "no?"


  1. Luv to condense your blogs into one profound comment. "Thinking like a Cat" has an impressive bit of philosophy: "So, today I'm all about the word, 'yes'."

  2. My cat teaches me that it is perfectly acceptable to nap.

  3. So true! And be anti-social if you feel like it.