We have both a weak self and a strong self; the two are completely different. If we allow our weak side to dominate, we willsurely be defeated. A poet wrote: “To the weak, difficulty is a closed door. To the strong, however, it is a door waiting to be opened.” Difficulties impede the progress of those who are weak. For the strong, however, they are an opportunity to open wide the doors to a brightfuture. Everything is determined by our attitude, by our resolve. Ultimately, our battle is with ourselves. Whether in our activities in society, or whether in historical, political or economic developments, everything essentially boils down to a strugglebetween positive and negative forces. Real optimism should not be confused with a carefree outlook on life, one in which we forfeit responsibility for our lives. The person undefeated by misfortune, poverty, insult and vilification; theperson who can bounce back from every adversity and say, “What? That was nothing!” The person who marches on toward hope through sheer force of will; that person is a true optimist. Trust is difficult to earn and it is easily lost—the trust built over a decade can be shattered in an instant by one offhanded remark or deed. A person who is not swayed from their chosen path, even during the most trying times, will ultimately find that he or she is trusted by all. As long as we are human, we are bound to make mistakes. What distinguishes a forward-looking person from an intransigent one, a virtuous person from a dishonest one, however, is whether one can candidly admit toone’s mistakes and take bold steps to redress them. It’s foolish to be obsessed with past failures. And it’s just as foolish to be self-satisfied with one’s small achievements. The present and the future are what are important, not the past. Those who neglect this spirit of continual striving will start to veer off in a ruinous direction.