Optimism vs. Pessimism

I’ve always been an Optimist. And it’s not just because I won some trophies in high school in an Optimist International Oratorical Contest.

I tend to believe that things will always get better. And in general, that’s been my experience. There are setbacks and downturns and potholes and bad patches as one travels through life, but for me, I always fall on the optimistic side of things.

To be sure, it’s probably contributed to my occasional failures to foresee trouble, or to be surprised by bad things. But overall, I think it’s a mindset that serves me well.

I’ve never seen the benefits of Pessimism. Sure, Pessimists can feel a certain sense of vindication when things turn out as crummy as they predicted. But where’s the fun in that? You get to say “I told you so”, but things still suck. There’s no joy in just being right.

Optimism and Pessimism are prime elements in two distinct world views:

  1. Things are not so bad, will get better, and there is joy and fulfillment to be found around very corner.
  2. Things suck, will get worse, and joy and fulfillment are fleeting at best.

The world view one chooses not only determines how we interpret events (glass half full or half empty), but also what we look for. Optimism lives on possibilities, not just facts. When we’re optimistic, we look for…and often find…the greatest possibilities in everything. We see the best that could be in things, and see those things that will produce the best.


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