I’d consider myself to be an optimist, even against overwhelming evidence at times. It’s a sort of faith. It’s fun to be optimistic and see what happens. I like to give the middle finger to negativity.
While this article acknowledges the positive powers of optimism, it also details the surprising advantages of some healthy pessimism. I may need to work on leveraging some pessimism more, especially while estimating projects and budgets!
Pessimism can help us prepare and do our best work, increase desire and enthusiasm to improve things, and even reduce anxiety by motivating focus over avoidance. 🤯
The down side of optimism
Multiple research has shown that optimism has a dark side too. Not only it can lead to poor outcomes, but it makes us underestimate risks or take less action.
Optimists pay less attention to detail and fail to seek new information to challenge their rosy views leading to poor decisions.
The Optimism Bias is one of the two key factors why we inaccurately calculate big projects — we tend to underestimate both time and cost.
Defensive Pessimist is a particular type of pessimist that takes negative thinking to a whole new level. It’s a strategy that helps people reduce their anxiety — it drives focus rather than avoidance.
The defensive pessimist focuses on the worst-case scenario — s/he identifies and takes care of things that optimists miss. This approach can help us better prepare for events that are out of our full control such as a job interview.
In philosophy, Meliorism is a concept which drives our ability to improve the world through alteration — we can produce outcomes that are considered better than the original phenomenon.
Meliorism doesn’t mean ignoring the world’s evils. But to accept life’s setbacks as challenges to overcome. This joie de vivre energizes us — it boosts our desire and enthusiasm