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Still Waters

The surprising benefits of being a pessimist

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Still Waters

How many times have you been told that something great will happen as long as you believe it is possible? From pop psychology books to self-improvement seminars and blogs, there’s a lot of hype surrounding the advantages of positive thinking. And there’s certainly some evidence behind it – a large body of work suggests that being optimistic reaps a number of positive rewards, including better health and wellbeing.

But what about the people who tend to see the glass as half empty rather than half full? Is being pessimistic always such a bad thing? Actually, the latest research suggests that some forms of pessimism may have benefits.

https://theconversation.com/the-surprising-benefits-of-being-a-pessimist-91851

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XenoFish

Points scored for us pessimist.B)

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XenoFish

 

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Crazy Horse

Ok, I got this far reading the link..

"But how does defensive pessimism actually work and what benefits can you expect to get out of it? Researchers suggest that defensive pessimism is a strategy that people who are anxious use to help them manage their anxiety, which might otherwise make them want to run in the opposite direction of their goal rather than pursue it."

Ok, so I see this a being the crux of the issue.

We can as individuals react, manage, our anxiety issues, or we can seek to understand them and then fix the issue at the root cause. This idea of defensive pessimism doesn't address how we might understand nor fix things, it's reactionary, not pro-active..

And we can react to the same problems day after day, week after week, year after year and get nowhere..

Managing your anxiety is better than nothing, but the smart thing to do is to understand it and fix it at the root cause. 

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XenoFish

Worth a watch.

 

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GlitterRose

I feel like I'd be happier as an optimist, but I wouldn't be as grounded in reality. 

It's a trade off.

Plus, there's no switch that you can flip and just instantly become an optimist. 

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XenoFish
3 minutes ago, ChaosRose said:

I feel like I'd be happier as an optimist, but I wouldn't be as grounded in reality. 

It's a trade off.

Plus, there's no switch that you can flip and just instantly become an optimist. 

I think we've discussed this before, but I believe we're both realist with pessimistic leanings.

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LV-426

I'd say there's more than one type of pessimist.

I consider myself pessimistic/realistic, but I always try to greet life with a wry sense of humour and a smile on my face.

I typically have a smile for passersby while out for a stroll, though in retrospect... maybe I just look manic :wacko:

:lol:

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GlitterRose
43 minutes ago, LV-426 said:

I'd say there's more than one type of pessimist.

I consider myself pessimistic/realistic, but I always try to greet life with a wry sense of humour and a smile on my face.

I typically have a smile for passersby while out for a stroll, though in retrospect... maybe I just look manic :wacko:

:lol:

I'm nice to people. I just have low tolerance for high maintenance. 

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XenoFish
51 minutes ago, LV-426 said:

I'd say there's more than one type of pessimist.

I consider myself pessimistic/realistic, but I always try to greet life with a wry sense of humour and a smile on my face.

I typically have a smile for passersby while out for a stroll, though in retrospect... maybe I just look manic :wacko:

:lol:

https://www.bolde.com/fine-line-between-realism-pessimism/

My pessimist extends into cynicism, murphy's law, and defensive pessimism.  Other than that I'm pretty much a realist.

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Crazy Horse

You know you can be an optimist and still remain a realist, i.e., you aim high, but you also accept the results, the any given reality of any given situation.. 

But, if you aim high, then you are going to achieve more than by aiming low, even if you fail to attain this high standard. And I could imagine that by being more optimistic in nature, you are more likely try again, and again, and again, learning from each try..

And I would be surprised if by being pessimistic all the time, that this state of being wouldn't have a detrimental affect upon ones health!? Being happy is I feel one of the aspects of our immune system. Sure, you may be happy being pessimistic, but true happiness is attained by achievement. Achieving something worthwhile, like a connection with another human being - I guess it comes downs to a matter of degrees?

The only thing stopping you from achieving greatness is you and your mind - think about that!

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XenoFish
1 hour ago, Crazy Horse said:

But, if you aim high, then you are going to achieve more than by aiming low, even if you fail to attain this high standard. And I could imagine that by being more optimistic in nature, you are more likely try again, and again, and again, learning from each try..

Not quite. If you aim high you are in a perpetual state of failure till you achieve that goal. It's more detrimental if you fail such high goals. With pessimism it's different. You take your mind off success or failure, because you know that it might not work out the way you want. So you "See what happens". It seems our culture has turned into one were everybody is supposed to be perpetually "happy". I think this is why so many are miserable. If you're constantly force feed this idea of rainbows, sunshine and kitty cats, the life doesn't meet up to such exaggerated standards. You start to think negatively, which isn't the same as being pessimistic. 

d0d192b34a20efa19fa3c8c7291cd083--emil-c

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Crazy Horse
2 hours ago, XenoFish said:

Not quite. If you aim high you are in a perpetual state of failure till you achieve that goal. It's more detrimental if you fail such high goals. With pessimism it's different. You take your mind off success or failure, because you know that it might not work out the way you want. So you "See what happens". It seems our culture has turned into one were everybody is supposed to be perpetually "happy". I think this is why so many are miserable. If you're constantly force feed this idea of rainbows, sunshine and kitty cats, the life doesn't meet up to such exaggerated standards. You start to think negatively, which isn't the same as being pessimistic. 

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I wouldn't call it a perpetual state of failure, more like a continued state of learning, but, thats the optimist in me! And so it is only detrimental if you allow it to be.

When I am trying to achieve something, I am not thinking about whether its going to succeed or fail, to be honest thats the last thing on my mind, but I do have to be honest with myself if I wish to take any lesson that must come with failure. 

You seem to think that only a pessimist can understand that "it might not work out", sorry XFish, but this is not right. I absolutley understand that something may not work out, and thats ok, what isnt ok, for me at least, is to not even try!

And I dont see that our culture has turned in to a place where everybody has to be happy, but one where everybody might find a lasting, fulling, happy life.

Now that might sound impossible to you, but for me, I can totally see this as being achievable. But I agree with you about exaggerated standards, these are not helpful and are probably harmful too.

So the question in my mind is, how can we try to achieve this kind of inner peace and happy state of being, without any exaggerated expectations, and without a fear of failure etc? 

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joc

I like the philosophy of Dr. Napoleon Hill.   He said, One is only a failure when one gives up in their own mind.   The truth is that if you set high goals and then give up on them...it is just as detrimental as setting low goals...and giving up on them as well.   The way I look at Optimism is:  I can.  And pessimism:  I can't.  

I also like this:  

If you want to change anything in your life, do it yourself, you can not rely on others to do it for you

A lot of people set high goals and in their minds they think, I hope I can achieve this.  Others just say, I will achieve this!   Hope is for things you cannot change...like the weather.   If you can change it...then dambit gumby...Change It!  Make it happen!  No one else is gonna do it for you.   But...if you don't have power over it...then do the best you can despite the challenge.  I never really liked that whole 'cup half full/half empty' way of thinking.   The cup is over-flowing...all the time...when the cup is empty...well, the hole is 6 feet deep.

 
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Crazy Horse
5 minutes ago, joc said:

I like the philosophy of Dr. Napoleon Hill.   He said, One is only a failure when one gives up in their own mind.   The truth is that if you set high goals and then give up on them...it is just as detrimental as setting low goals...and giving up on them as well.   The way I look at Optimism is:  I can.  And pessimism:  I can't.  

I also like this:  

If you want to change anything in your life, do it yourself, you can not rely on others to do it for you

A lot of people set high goals and in their minds they think, I hope I can achieve this.  Others just say, I will achieve this!   Hope is for things you cannot change...like the weather.   If you can change it...then dambit gumby...Change It!  Make it happen!  No one else is gonna do it for you.   But...if you don't have power over it...then do the best you can despite the challenge.  I never really liked that whole 'cup half full/half empty' way of thinking.   The cup is over-flowing...all the time...when the cup is empty...well, he hole is 6 feet deep.

 

I agree that its the giving up in ones own mind that is the problem here, what I have read of Dr N Hill was pretty good stuff.

So I think its important to set ambitions and targets with something that truly inspires you. That may sound a bit obvious, but,  if something interests you enough, then you are going to over-come any obstacles. See any set-back as a vital part of the process.

And for me, I dont really think, "I hope to achieve this", nor do I think,"I will achieve this", my life, my philosophy, and therefore my goals are all one. So I just plod forward taking any useful bits of infomation, insights and wisdom that pass in front of me,  disregarding anything that doesn't work for me!

Its true - The teacher shall appear once the mind is ready.

Btw Joc, I like the whole the cup is overflowing analogy, nice....

and optimistic lolzz..

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joc
51 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

I think that is one reason why it is so important to be a 'realist'.  To have a deep and grounded understanding of reality.  I also think those of us who actually do...are few and far between.  It isn't really that Optimism is dangerous.  What is dangerous...is the illogical thought processes that go along with it.  Illogical thought process is dangerous.    I can...must be tempered with...what reality dictates about whatever it is that is being considered.  I can't...must be tempered with the knowledge that, in and of itself...the apostrophe t...is what creates failure.

I had a discussion like this with my college daughter.   She said, I can say I can fly all I want...but if I try to fly off a cliff I will die!   Correct.  Which is why it is important to be a realist.   Laws of Physics cannot be overcome...by thought or anything else.  But...I went on to explain that...someone somewhere was standing on the same cliff and said I can fly...he knew the laws of physics said otherwise...but he wanted to jump off the cliff and fly...so...he used the Laws of Physics and created a flying suit.  Incredibly dangerous but ...he did in fact jump off the cliff and fly.  Many have done so.  Many have also died in the process...which again...is why it is so important to be a realist...to be real about your goals...to be real about the risks...to be real...about everything.  And...finally...the greatest health reason of all...stress relief.  Those of us who are real....have much less stress exerted on our bodies by our concerns and worries over the intricacies of life.

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Crazy Horse
On 24 February 2018 at 2:59 PM, ChaosRose said:

I feel like I'd be happier as an optimist, but I wouldn't be as grounded in reality. 

It's a trade off.

Plus, there's no switch that you can flip and just instantly become an optimist. 

Actually there is a switch, it is called your mind.

Being optimistic is just an attitude, a habit of mind, practice it and it shall become second nature..

And btw, an optimist is just as grounded in reality as any pessimist, only we see the silver lining, we don't burden our friends and family with unhealthy pessimism, seeing the cup as being half empty! Focus on the positive, what you do have, not what you don't, be thankful that you have anything in your cup, appreciate what you have, not what you lack.

That is being a realist!

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Crazy Horse
17 hours ago, joc said:

I think that is one reason why it is so important to be a 'realist'.  To have a deep and grounded understanding of reality.  I also think those of us who actually do...are few and far between.  It isn't really that Optimism is dangerous.  What is dangerous...is the illogical thought process that go along with it.  Illogical thought process is dangerous.    I can...must be tempered with...what reality dictates about whatever it is that is being considered.  I can't...must be tempered with the knowledge that, in and of itself...the apostrophe t...is what creates failure.

I had a discussion like this with my college daughter.   She said, I can say I can fly all I want...but if I try to fly off a cliff I will die!   Correct.  Which is why it is important to be a realist.   Laws of Physics cannot be overcome...by thought or anything else.  But...I went on to explain that...someone somewhere was standing on the same cliff and said I can fly...he knew the laws of physics said otherwise...but he wanted to jump off the cliff and fly...so...he used the Laws of Physics and created a flying suit.  Incredibly dangerous but ...he did in fact jump off the cliff and fly.  Many have done so.  Many have also died in the process...which again...is why it is so important to be a realist...to be real about your goals...to be real about the risks...to be real...about everything.  And...finally...the greatest health reason of all...stress relief.  Those of us who are real....have much less stress exerted on our bodies by our concerns and worries over the intricacies of life.

I dont see this myself.

Being optimistic simply means that things can and will get better. This idea alone can produce a shot of positive energy that may just be the difference between success and failure.

Me, I dont mind whether I fail or succeed, I see failure as being a part of the learning process, I see failure as being a part of the reductionist mind, taking away what doesnt work, a bit like Sherlock Holmes. 

So, success or failure, I really dont mind, I can see the benefits within both, but I guess thats just my positive, upbeat, optimistic nature, a personality trait that I cultured myself..

And one more thing..

If I wish to succeed in life, then I have to be honest with myself. I have to keep it real, otherwise I am just wasting my time and confusing and misleading other folk who I come into contact with, (to a degree) this would be the last thing that I want to do, so if I am going to voice an opinion it has to be honest at least, it might not be correct, but thats for you to decide.

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Crazy Horse

One more thing that is kinda connected.

Sometimes when I am writing a message on UM, maybe I've spent 10/15/20 minutes compossing the "perfect" reply, and then for some reason the whole thing dispears into the void.. My perfect rebuttal has vanished never to be seen again.

My first reaction is not one of joy..

But then I rewrite the thing and it is always better, more concise, it flows and reads better than my previous effort.

This has happened so many times that I now see it as a gift.

What's my point?

I donk know!

Possitivity?

We live in a body, with a mind, in an ecco-system that will self right itself given half a chance, I guess that positivity and optimism give us the space for that to happen.

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joc

I have had that happen as well.  A lot of times though it is still there....all one has to do is just go back to 'reply' and click on it and wallah...there it is.  A lot of posts I just compose on WordPad....for that very reason of 'poof' ...its gone.  

I honestly do not have that gift.  If it's gone...and it was lengthy...I usually just express my self with a brief set of expletives and move on.

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Crazy Horse
10 minutes ago, joc said:

I have had that happen as well.  A lot of times though it is still there....all one has to do is just go back to 'reply' and click on it and wallah...there it is.  A lot of posts I just compose on WordPad....for that very reason of 'poof' ...its gone.  

I honestly do not have that gift.  If it's gone...and it was lengthy...I usually just express my self with a brief set of expletives and move on.

I know mate, my first reaction is the same, more or less, but over time I realised that once I had accepted it and began to rewrite the whole thing, that actually it was a blessing in disguise. I post from an old tablet, and when it blinks on and off my post has gone forever! M'eh..

So over time, my negative reaction has dropped to almost nothing, then it becomes like a test, I am testing my theory, and low and behold the post always get re-made better...

Unless we look for stuff in this life Joc, we ain't never gonna find out what reality really is..

Me, like I said before, I dont mind if something works or doesn't work, I just try something and see what happens..

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