Monday, September 26, 2011
Optimism or pleasant delusion?
Alina Tugend, NYT, Sept 23, 2011, like me, is optimism-challenged. Expect the worst, I say, and when it happens, at least you were right!
But society values optimism…unicorns, Winnie the Pooh, the disease is cured, you can sell your house.
Yet, the numbers show Americans haven’t been this bummed about the economy in three decades. Fewer than 20% expect their finances to improve (Thomson-Reuters-Univ of Mich).
Optimism (they say) is not about repeating cloying stuff to yourself—everyday in every way I am getting better and better.
One expert says optimists think of bad things as temporary—pessimists the opposite.
Pessimists must do what I call catastrophize—generalize the specific to a huge generalization. My friend put me on voicemail—my friend hates me…that sort of thing.
Still, the experts say EXTREME optimism is not good.
An extreme optimist may think he or she is living way longer than health would dictate. Or think they don’t need savings—things will work out.
In the end, both come out the same, apparently. Too much faith in the future, no safety net. Too little—why bother with a safety net.
But hey--keep coming here. The ultimate act of optimism is to suit up and try each day--and we do it, so there!