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Are you an optimist or a pessimist? - by TimC

Is the glass half full or half empty?  Will this product, policy, strategy work or fail?  Can I really achieve my dreams or am I living in fantasy-land? 

These and hundreds of other questions are asked every day by well meaning and hard working people.

Lionel Tiger in his great book, Optimism, the Biology of Hope, written over forty years ago discusses how optimism impacts a person’s attitudes, outlook, success and health.  He suggests that people who are less optimistic about life, the present and the future tend to get sick more frequently and often die sooner.  In the book, Learned Optimism by Segleman, he discusses how each of us begins every project, activity, task, relationship, career etc. with either a YES or a NO or a YES I can and I will or NO I can’t and I won’t in their hearts.

You can’t measure optimism.  You can’t bottle it, regulate it, run out of it or manufacture it but you can learn to develop it if you will only take the time and effort.  Some people feel it is better to be realistic than optimistic – why set yourself up for disappointment?  Tell me what is realistic?  Looking back over the past 100 years.  Where would we be if: Edison, Bell, Gates, Ford, Land, Disney etall. were realistic?  If their attitude had been, it hasn’t been done yet so I guess it can’t be done!

There are numerous benefits to having an optimistic outlook.  And just as many pitfalls in not having one.  Here are a few of the benefits.


You will achieve more, you will have more fun. you will be happier, you will have more friends, you will enjoy life more, you will be healthier.



The pessimists of the world will laugh, smile or even gloat when your optimism seems to give you no real obvious benefits.  But no one can determine the hidden payback that may not be evident to society but is a known in your own heart and mind.


If you are wondering, questioning or challenging my thinking here I’ll leave you with a thought.  If I am positive and optimistic about something and I am wrong, what have I lost.  If you are negative or pessimistic about something and you are right what have you gained?


In the end it really isn’t about whether we were right or wrong, negative or positive or optimistic or pessimistic.  The only thing that matters is did we live a peaceful, happy and contented life with whatever views we held.


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