The following text was called “Promise Yourself” when Christian Larson penned it for his 1910 book, “Your Forces and How to Use Them.”
(Want more background on this subject?
Read our overview story about Larson’s books and also read our interview with publisher Mitch Horowitz about Larson’s continuing influence.)
To this day, Optimist International uses the first 10 lines of Larson’s original 12-line pledge—word for word—to inspire men and women worldwide.
also known as
To be so strong
that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness,
and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends
feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best,
to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success
of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on
to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time
to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger,
too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
(Optimist International creed ends here.)
To think well of yourself
and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith
that the whole world is on your side,
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.