Ring ring! Your alarm goes off and you wake up, a brand-new day beginning around the world.

Birds may be chirping outside your window and beams of sunlight may be streaming through your blinds. But if you’re like me, you try to sneak in a few more minutes of sleep — even though you know you have to start your day.

So you get out of bed and head to a mirror to begin your daily routine.

I want you to stop right here. Look carefully in the mirror and ask yourself a simple question: Who are you today?

It’s a question many don’t think about at all. We eat our breakfast, brush our teeth and tackle the chores of the day or go to work with our colleagues. Asking this question of yourself every day is one of the most important things you can do!

Today, I’m going to be hopeful that it will be better than yesterday.

Consider the question itself: Who are you today? It implies that we can be different people, show different faces or sides of ourselves to society. Who you are today is important, not only to you, but to the people around you.

Are you angry about something that happened yesterday? Are you sad about a life event that you are struggling to adapt to? Have you lost someone recently and coping with the void that was left? Are you happy about something that occurred to you or a close friend?

These emotions we have are powerful and have real effects on our interactions with others. How you feel at the beginning of your day can have real implications for how the rest of your day can go. It definitely can have implications for the family, friends or co-workers you come into contact with.

Asking yourself Who you are is a major part of working toward Who do you want to be?

This is my routine every morning. It helps wipe the slate clean and allows me to start my day anew. Did yesterday have issues in it? Maybe. Could things be better in life? Sure, they can. Can people or situations around me affect me in a negative way over a period of time? That’s a possibility too, but I hardly can change any of that.

What I can change is my overall attitude and my perspective on this new day. Today, I’m going to be hopeful that it will be better than yesterday. Today, I’m going to be a positive influence to the people around me, my friends, my family and my co-workers. Today, I’m going to do my best with what I’m given. This is who I am today.

Finding hope in this world isn’t something you will find being given to you easily.

Hope starts with you.

I’ve had family members diagnosed with cancer, and hearing their responses to their fight changed my perspective. In the face of such enormity, they had hope.

I didn’t understand this at first. They had just been given some of the worst news anyone could be given, so how could they find hope in that? And then I watched and listened to their hopes. I saw the aftereffects of it. I saw the contagiousness of it, what true hope looked like. They didn’t give up. They didn’t take the diagnosis lying down.

Today is going to be better than yesterday.

Some of those family members are now cancer-free, and I have to say they are my heroes. They are my examples that reorient my focus when I have a “bad day.”

We probably all have examples like that in our lives. Who is the strongest person you know? Is it a family member? Is it a work colleague? Is it you?

For too long, we continue to allow ourselves to be swayed be the negativity we see or hear in our lives.

There is always someone else worse off, but this should not take away from the seriousness of our own circumstances. This is why asking Who you are before your day starts is so important. Remind yourself that only you have the power to have a positive outlook over your situation. Only you have the power to continue to smile in the face of your adversity.

Don’t give in to the ease of a toxic mindset. Don’t give in to the temptation of giving up.

You are what you say you are! Be hopeful in your fight against hopelessness, and I assure you today will be brighter than yesterday.

So, once again, look in that mirror and ask the question: Who are you today? Smile and tell your reflection you are someone filled with hope.

It’s going to be a great day.

Matthew Scott ’07 ’11MS is a sergeant with the UCF Police Department. He can be reached at [email protected]

The UCF Forum is a weekly series of opinion columns from faculty, staff and students who serve on a panel for a year. A new column is posted each Wednesday on UCF Today and then broadcast on WUCF-FM (89.9) between 7:50 and 8 a.m. Sunday. Opinions expressed are those of the columnists, and are not necessarily shared by the University of Central Florida.