Which is better? Being an optimist or a pessimist?

September 6, 2019

Often in our society, the pessimists are frowned upon, but historically we needed the pessimists to survive.

Let's say after a few lean years we had a fantastic harvest in our village. Yay! Now, all the optimists want to have a huge feast, eat everything and be happy. Our harvest is proof that we can do this. We're all good. She'll be right. 

Meanwhile, the pessimists are walking around the village with their long faces, painting dark pictures, talking about hard days and generally creating a miserable atmosphere. The optimists are so ecstatic and way more fun nobody pays any attention to the pessimists.

Then, of course, the next year the rains don't come, and we end up with nothing to eat. We are about to die of starvation.

Enter the pessimists. After they’ve done their little 'told you so' dance they come in to save the day.

They just couldn’t help themselves, could they? While everyone else was busy preparing for the big party, feasting and being happy, the pessimists had built a shed somewhere in the woods and stashed a heap of food away. Just in case.

So, yes, you get it. Both pessimists and optimists have a role to play.

And of course, apart from optimists and pessimists, there is a third alternative. The realists. The realists imagine and hope for the best, knowing full well that it may not always work out that way. They have a bit of a backup plan and know they have the resources to work it out should things go sideways. 

Ideally, we need all three within us.


Something to think about...

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."

- William Arthur Ward



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