In many dire circumstances or situations, being optimistic is the only thing that will keep us sane. When we are in pursuit of a business idea, an achievement, or something that will make us stand out from among the sheep, where there is only one small sliver of hope… Optimism is what will doggedly drive us to the end – be that success or failure. This can be a very powerful thing, and will often make or break us. But in many ways – not discounting at all from being optimistic – we may also benefit from taking to consideration a pessimistic point of view.
The the thing with being optimistic vs. pessimistic is that it isn’t really all just black and white. There are advantages to both. Often times, being pessimistic, although “negative”, isn’t negative at all. At times, being pessimistic simply means slightly lowering your expectations, while also preparing for the worst. This is something that optimists often fail at doing as well.
While perhaps the word “pessimism” in itself has a negative connotations attached to it, being pessimistic might just in a few scenarios save your life. Imagine driving to your mom’s house with the wife and kids in the middle of winter. While a pessimist might pack on board a few necessary tools, a lighter, and some blankets since they have watched too much Discovery Channel about blizzards and hailstorms, an optimist might not even think about that type of situation happening. Now imagine that you did get stuck in a blizzard. You would pretty much be done for.
While optimism is always being heralded as the right way towards looking at things, many times it is not the best way.
Optimism is often defined as being less bothered by stress, allowing you to better cope for more stressful and critical situations, but on the other hand, a nonchalant attitude to certain dangers may leave optimists less prepared to handle problematic situations when they arise. Meaning, optimism can be extremely dangerous when dealing with stressful situations.
Perhaps the lesson of here is that there really is a lot of gray area between the two and that we should not really base all our decisions from one or the other. Take time and weigh all the possible outcomes, but at times, it is also fruitful to just jump into something. Certainly, taking a little time to ponder isn’t as bad as it sounds to be.