Collection abc – O is for Organization, Opportunities and Optimism

Here is the “O” installment of my abc collection. I choose about three words and write something regarding them trying to relate them to Switzerland or the Swiss or my life in Switzerland. This week’s words start with “o”. “O” is for organization, opportunities and optimism.

is for organization

The five separate fingers are five independent units. Close them and the fist multiplies strength. This is organization.
~ James Cash Penney

Switzerland is home to many international organizations, institutions and secretariats. There are almost 250 non-governmental organizations based in Switzerland on top of that. Here is a list of the 9 oldest. The year of agreement is the year the organization signed the agreement with Switzerland. It is not necessarily the year the organization was created.

UNO- United Nations Organization. Year of agreement: 1946.
IBE-UNESCO – International Bureau of Education. Year of agreement: 1946.
ILO – International Labour Organization. Year of agreement:1946.
WHO – World Health Organization. Year of agreement:1948.
UPU- Universal Postal Union. Year of agreement:1948.
IOM – International Organisation for Migration. Year of agreement:1954.
CERN – European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Year of agreement:1955.
WMO – World Meteorological Organization. Year of agreement:1951.
EFTA – European Free Trade Association. Year of agreement:1961.

These are strong organizations and it makes the Swiss proud to be able to have them based here. I couldn’t agree more.

is for opportunities

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
~ Charles R. Swindoll

It’s happened to all of us, for sure. Something, anything happens and you think, what am I going to do now? But there is always a silver lining. For example, something happened and because of that I found out that I enjoy writing. What’s even nicer, people enjoy reading what I write. That’s fun!

Something similar happened to Ben, too. He was saddened when his grandmother died. The question “why?” tends to show up when someone you love dies. But… because his grandmother died, his family moved to Berne. At the school in Berne he had the opportunity to apply to a foreign exchange program. He got accepted and went abroad for a year. That was where we met! That sad event that happened set loose a series of opportunities.

Opportunities are everywhere. You just have to open your eyes and search the impossible situations for those great opportunities and grab them when you see them.

is for optimism

Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.
~ Dalai Lama XIV

So, is that ominous glass half full or half empty? Like Dalai Lama, I would like to think half full, of course. But, reflecting on it I would suppose it depends if you are drinking from a full glass and stop when it’s half gone. Or if you are pouring liquid into an empty glass and stop when the glass is half full. That makes sense and probably puts me into the category of the wishy-washy, hair-splitting realists.

On the other hand, and luckily we have two, what if you don’t have all the facts? Then I truly believe the optimistic approach is the way to go. Imagine taking a test and knowing you will not get the results for a week. What now? Brood over all the possible answers you may have gotten wrong? Anguish over the thought that you might have failed? If you ask me, that will take you into the direction of ulcers and similar problems. Without the facts you could fall into a trap of “what ifs”. That is the moment you should choose to be optimistic, it will definitely feel better. Once you get the results and know the facts there will be enough time to plan what to do.

Swiss Optimism

As for Swiss and optimism, this is an interesting twist on how to look at things. There are two people who I didn’t know personally but have heard about: Ben’s Grand-Daddy and Grand-Mommy. Ben has told me on several occasions how Grand-Mommy was the optimist in the family while Grand-Daddy the pessimist. Grand-Mommy always thought the best of everyone she met and was, unfortunately, often disappointed. Grand-Daddy, who didn’t like to see his wife disappointed, would shake his head when this happened. He would say, “See, if you think the worst of everyone and someone turns out to be good, you will be pleasantly surprised”.

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