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Optimistic About Youth & Youthful Optimists

The Honourable Gabrielle Williams MP

"What makes me optimistic is our younger generation - a generation passionate about driving change, a generation committed to leaving the place better than they found it."

Michelle Obama

“I’m optimistic about the future. There are some bright young people out there doing some amazing things.  This is why I’m not going to run for president.  Because I think it’s a better investment to invest in creating thousands of mes.”

David Spence

“I’m optimistic that the next generation will be much smarter than the baby boomers. From management of natural resources to new productive ideas they are already proving themselves.”

Maree Timms, Robotics Teacher

"Working with young people makes me optimistic. I never underestimate their drive, passion and tenacity when it comes to solving problems. The future is in good hands."

Roqia Hashimi, Student, Shepparton High School

“Be optimistic and positive!  First, know yourself: Without knowing your strengths and weaknesses it’s pointless.  Be patient: Life has its ups and downs you can’t get to the top straight away.  Falling down and picking yourself up helps you learn what helps you to rise with confidence.”

Shyla Raghav Vice President, Climate Change at Conservation International

"The incredibly powerful voice and commitment of young people makes me optimistic about our chances of solving the climate crisis."

Voices for Climate Optimism 

Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever

“The future lies in the hands of the younger generation and that gives me huge cause for optimism.  Wherever I go in the world, the young people I meet are engaged with the issues and challenges we face and focussed on finding solutions.  Above all, they are driven by a deep sense of purpose.  They may only represent 50% of today, but fortunately young people are 100% of tomorrow, and that is reason to celebrate”.

Sherilyn Hansen

“I am optimistic for the future because of the strength of character and commitment in young people. They are passionate, driven to create change but not at all costs - they will find the balance between economic good and social good and have a range of technology tools they have grown up with to help them get achieve their vision.”

Ryan Bowler, Drama Teacher

“I am optimistic about the future that our younger citizens will shape because I see their optimism and hope on a daily basis."

Bronwyn Leigh Jones, President, Coral Sustainable Services

“I am optimistic that our youth will nurture our planet back to good health. I am optimistic that our earth is surely in good hands with these bright, courageous souls guiding its evolution now and for the future.”

Patrick Bolton, Student, Goulburn Valley Grammar School

“What makes me optimistic? The knowledge that only I can decide whether I will be outworked or outsmarted. I have that choice.”

David ReidFounder of Paradigm Futures

"On a planet which we have taken for granted for too long, spending time with the next generation will leave you full of optimism - they are driven and  energised to create  positive change. Let's support them and share their optimism with all."

Khayshie Tilak Ramesh, Victoria’s Multicultural Youth Commissioner

"I am optimistic about the unknown. When we face uncertainty or the unknown, we have a choice to be afraid of what it entails or excited for the possibilities that it brings. I like to choose the latter - to be an optimist!"

Mayor Katrina Humphries, Moree Plains Shire Council

"The younger generation make me optimistic"

David Grieve, 5-dimensionz

“Leadership is essential in all levels of society, and some of the young people today have shown enormous goodwill and energy to provide service to those less fortunate than themselves.”

Patrick Moore, President, Australian Institute of International Affairs

“The Case for optimism?  Our Youth; many of which are fantastic.”

Keri Pratt

"Effective leadership is knowing when to listen and when to act and constantly fine-tuning the two. I am optimistic that this balance is achievable and that there are many younger people who display this understanding."

Greg Graham,  Founder of The Nest Consultancy

"What makes me optimistic is when I coach and mentor young people and see their talent and confidence grow. Training, nurturing and  developing young talent is a passion and it’s wonderful to see people blossom and evolve. It inspires me to do more and help as many people as possible along the way. Giving back and doing good is good."

Adam Cockayne, Founder of Fine Defender

“What makes me optimistic? Young people! I know so many smart, decent, caring people under 30 who want a better world. Hopefully, our efforts help to encourage them to do it.”

Barack Obama

"When sometimes I feel despair, I just see what’s happening with young people all across the country and the talent and the voice and the sophistication that they’re displaying, and it makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel as if this country is going to get better." 

Optimism for Positive Change after the Death of George Floyd

Lesley Podesta, CEO of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation

My optimism comes from the fact that we have the smartest, most educated generations coming up behind us and there is great contest of ideas and exciting growth and innovation from the growing middle classes in Asia and Africa.  Borders mean something different to our children and the idea of the “ global citizen” is not theoretical anymore. I love that this change has largely been implemented without war or bloodshed but through ideas and communication.”

Stuart Allinson, Board Member ,Climate Change Authority

"I am continually impressed by this generation's ability to filter a vast amount of data, remove the noise and focus on the things that matter. Our generation had far fewer degrees of freedom to triangulate.  The inter-generational constant is "glass half full vs glass half empty. Optimistic people are no more or less lucky than the rest of the population - they are more open to the possibilities that occur every day."

Professor Raja Guha Thakurta, Astronomer at the UCO/Lick Observatory

“My optimism arises from the tremendous qualities I see in the young people I interact with. They are intelligent, passionate, motivated, hardworking, dedicated, ... ... they are capable of rising to meet any and every challenge. Our generation of adults has a responsibility of engaging youth in our work, sharing our passion and vision with them, and, equally importantly, learning about their passion and vision. It is clear to me that the future is in very good hands. We adults simply need to work with youth today to ensure that tomorrow's handover is a smooth one.”
(in "Optimism: The How and Why")

Vivien Gardiner, MD, Erase Aesthetic Services Group

The case for optimism lies in the young people of today, who are internet natives. They are not so bound, as their parents have been, by class, education, nationality, tradition. Their worldview and opportunities are expanded and their future, while challenging, is not so constrained by limited physical and social environments. Their communities cross many boundaries.  They are cognisant of their own agency and of their "horizontal brotherhood". They have a heightened awareness of power structures and know how to avoid them if they choose to. Future adults will be more solutions-focused. They know the status quo isn't always to their benefit and that they have the power to resist it.”

Sue Atkins

"What makes me optimistic?  The enthusiasm of children who naturally embrace life, the passion of people trying to make a difference & the kindness of strangers."

Athena Trentin, Ed.D., Executive Director, NAMI North Texas

"As a leader and advocate for social justice, what makes me optimistic is the passion and dedication of our future leaders.  They have modeled the responsibility necessary to conquer the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to fight for justice and equality at a time all basic human values have been challenged.  We are in unprecedented times.  It is our young adults who will decide our fate.  My optimism is the hope that our future leaders will trust their mentors, follow science and take the lead in determining the path for healing and equality for all."

Matthew Guy, Former Leader of the Liberal Party in the Victorian Parliament

“I’m very optimistic because I see Australian kids are vastly smarter, vastly more confident and vastly more ingenious than any generation we've ever seen. We should be confident about these young people and their ability to lead Australia better and differently in the decades ahead. I don't think my children's generation will be a pale imitation of mine or my parents' generation. I reckon they'll be something completely different. That's exciting!”

Mark J Bailey, Scientist

"Despite not having children, the youth of today make me optimistic. My case for optimism about a lot of things that people often seem pessimistic about is that by all metrics these things seem to be getting better: Crime, social justice etc. And what we can't fix will be fixed by the leaders of tomorrow, my nieces and nephews, my friends' children..."

Scott HintonPrincipal at Vaughan Partners

"I’m optimistic because I practice positive thinking and even in a crisis focus on the good things that surround me.

"The greater sense of community and rediscovery of the local neighbourhood. The smart, individualistic, young people who define the next generation. I see them at every JB Hi-Fi or Apple store!

"It’s a tares and wheat thing. It’s easy to focus on the tares. But don’t be misled; see the wheat!"

Sharon Howell, Headmaster at St. Johnsbury Academy

"Our deep optimism about young people comes from the good we see in them every day, and it drives everything we do. It also makes us hopeful that this new generation of students will come closer than we have to creating a just society."

"What unites us at St. Johnsbury Academy is our deep optimism regarding young people — we want to help each student become the best person, the best learner, and the best community member they can be."

Professor Elizabeth Gillespie, The University of Memphis

"The youth makes me optimistic. I believe the youth will save the world, and we should support their efforts to create social change. They’re growing up exposed to greater diversity than any generation before them. They care about social justice and saving the planet. Rather than taming or restricting their passion and activism, we should encourage them as agents of positive social change."

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