One song he sang frequently reflected his outlook, I believe: "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," penned by Johnny Mercer, pictured above. You can easily find the complete lyrics online (or just listen to the song), but here's the crux:
You got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive
E-lim-i-nate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mr. In-Between
You got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
And have faith, or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene
I absorbed this lesson pretty deeply as a kid. It's how I generally made my way through life as a young person—latching onto the affirmative. Also e-lim-i-nating the negative, which is sometimes less snazzily called "denial." When faced with less-than-ideal situations, I was pretty adept at pretending they didn't exist.
I suspect that's part of the reason l became a copywriter. I can play up whatever is good about a product and downplay anything that might be not-so-good. It comes naturally to me.
When I hear about a problem, the first words out of my mouth are often "At least..." followed by some silver lining or another. "At least she'll still have one leg," I might say, upon hearing of someone's amputation. "At least I learned a lesson," I might comfort myself after losing money due to some numbskulled mistake.
This trait can get preposterous if you're not careful. As demonstrated unforgettably in Monty Python's Life of Brian:
Fortunately, I've learned to modify the lessons of Johnny Mercer's clever lyrics. I still tend to search for the good side of a bad situation. But I've also learned to acknowledge the negative stuff. Many of my friends have heard me eloquently declare, "That sucks" when they share their troubles with me. Because sometimes it truly does. And when people expose their travails and pain, they sure as heck don't want a sunshine-and-rainbows response.
The truth is, almost nothing is completely good or completely bad. Life is complex, and situations are often double-edged. Like it or not, Mr. In-Between is often in charge. We just need to acknowledge him and try to stay on his good side.