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July 18, 2013

PP Linda Steinberg: #Confessions of a #Happy Pessimist? HMMMMM


It’s said there are two kinds of people in this world. The optimist sees his glass as half full; the pessimist, as half empty. The optimist sees the rainbow, the pessimist, the rain. 

Presumably the optimist is always cheerful, sees the best in people, and is hopeful for the future. If there are several possible outcomes for a situation, the optimist looks to the brightest one, confident that his or her good attitude will help it come to pass. There is even a book, The Law of Attraction, which purports that if one believes something positive will happen, that belief will attract the outcome one desires.

Pity the poor pessimist. Extrapolating from the above, a pessimist then must be a grumpy, gloomy person, always looking to find fault with others. Where the optimist sees a silver lining, the pessimist focuses on the cloud. Surely misfortune must follow him everywhere because he is expecting the negative at every turn, and it will find him. True?


I confess, I am a pessimist. And I am a very happy person. How can that be? Well, where an optimist is always looking at the bright side, I am always thinking, What’s the worst that could happen? If I follow a certain path, what’s the most dire consequence that could befall me? Could I live with that? If the answer is yes, I will usually go ahead and take the path. If the worst happens, well, I knew what I was in for and I accepted it. And if the worst doesn’t happen? Well, then, I’m happy.

Truthfully, ‘the worst’ rarely happens. And whereas an optimist is often disappointed, sometimes heartbroken, when things don’t pan out as well a hoped for or expected, since I have such low expectations, whatever does happen is usually a plus for me. 

As I get older, I wake up more mornings than not with aches and pains. Does this make me depressed? Not at all. What’s the worst that could happen? I could not wake up at all. Those aches and pains let me know I’m still alive. And
Life is good. I embrace every day.

So, which are you? Optimist or pessimist? Glass half full or glass half empty?  Optimists, share your secrets. Pessimists of the world, speak up!


Pamela Stone said...

Alas, I must confess to also being a pessimist. Like you, I typically think of what is the worst thing that can happen and then figure out how I could deal. Once I know I have a plan, then I quit worrying. I can deal. That may be more of a realist, than actual pessimist, but I do plan for the worst. Then in most cases am happy with a much better outcome. Hey, it works.

A minister at a funeral I attended last week was talking about dreamers. And unlike other people, how a dreamer looks at the world the way it should be. Yep, I've got a large dose of dreamer in me also. So on an up note, this pessimist came away from a funeral with something positive. So there!

Great post.

Phyllis said...

Well Linda, I have to say I'm a little of both. I mostly go through life as an optimist, but I do admit the pessimist side as I often look at a path and say the same thing....what is the worse that can happen.

I think that is really the best of both worlds. At least for me.

Linda Steinberg said...

Thanks, Ladies, for visiting. There was a study done with two groups, each of which contained both optimists and pessimists. One group was told that the task before them was easy and they'd have no trouble with it. The optimists in that group did well on the task, while the pessimists had trouble with it.

The other group was told that the task was a little difficult, and was told to watch out for some tricky things. In that test, the optimists didn't do well at at all, but the pessimists excelled at the task.

Of course, both groups were give the exact same task.

So, apparently, optimists thrive on optimists, and pessimists do better when they're aware of the pitfalls.


Juliet Burns said...

Posted by Juliet Burns

I’m a total cock-eyed optimist. I am just as you described, always believing the best things will happen to me and those I love. I never see the Mack truck headed straight for me and I’m shocked when it clouds up and a thunderstorm appears out of nowhere.

Over the years (half a century of living has taught me SOME things) I have learned to be prepared: keep a safe distance between me and other cars on the road, bring an umbrella, etc… But, mostly I like to stay positive.

I’ve also learned that the world needs pessimists. I used to get so frustrated with my glass-half-empty hubby. He drove me crazy always warning of gloom and doom, but every once in a while, when bad things happen, he’s there to make it better because he had expected it to happen and had prepared for it. And how I love him for that. So, now I nod and smile, and acknowledge that he may be right, but I still hope for the best. After all, imagine if no one ever believed they could do the impossible, like cure a disease, or fly in a plane, or actually publish a book! The world needs us positive thinkers too!

Linda Steinberg said...

Thanks, Juliet. I knew we had at least one optimist out there. You are truly one of the most optimistic people I have ever met. I'm often envious. But just as often I think, Boy, I hope her cloud never bursts.


Richard E Cole said...

Richard wrote: "I'm an optimist"

chris keniston said...

I'm not sure if I'm either - but I am a firm beiever in where there's a will there's a way- hence perhaps a bit of forced optimism

I'm also a realist- not that I expect the worst or don't hope for the best- but some facts simple are what they are

Who knows where that leaves me - LOL-

but if we can do it all with a good martini - I'm happy!!!

chris keniston said...

I'm not sure if I'm either - but I am a firm beiever in where there's a will there's a way- hence perhaps a bit of forced optimism

I'm also a realist- not that I expect the worst or don't hope for the best- but some facts simple are what they are

Who knows where that leaves me - LOL-

but if we can do it all with a good martini - I'm happy!!!

Rae Monet said...

Sometimes worst case scenario's can get the best of me. I have to admit; I can be controlled by my worry, but let it go is my husband’s motto. Thank God!;0)

LInda steinberg said...

thanks, gals for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Linda, loved this post. I consider myself a "guarded optimist" so maybe I am really a happy pessimist. LOL

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