By Rev. Paul N. Papas II
Nov 28, 2017
The story is told of two psychologists who sought to determine whether heredity or environment decided a child’s mental outlook. So they placed a pessimistic child in a lovely room chucked-full of beautiful toys, and an optimistic child in a room filled with horse manure. Hours later the pessimistic kid was found in the corner, pouting. “Why aren’t you playing with your toys,” the psychologists inquired? “Cause soon as I do, someone will come and take them away from me!” By contrast, they discovered the optimistic child enthusiastically swimming and diving through the manure. His reason? “Man! With all this manure, there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere!”
Which child would you rather be around? The pessimistic child is often not easy going or fun to be around. I would venture to say most people would go the other way to avoid the pessimistic child.
Pessimism is an attitude that one is not competent enough to control the situation at hand backed by the anticipation of failure thereby programming themselves with an excuse for failure. Pessimism prevents one from fully committing to a project or event. The refusal to fully commit could cause one to bail from something that otherwise could have been beneficial.
Pessimism could be a defense mechanism to reduce effects of traumatic or disturbing events that one experienced.
A less talented optimistic team could defeat a greater talented pessimistic team because of their optimism.
One’s outlook on life has a lot to do with whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. One’s outlook on life could determine whether one would spiral down into depression.
Shorter days and holidays can also contribute to depression and anxiety.
Thomas Carlyle once wrote that “the block of granite which was an obstacle in the path of the weak, becomes a steppingstone in the path of the strong.”
Now you can choose this day whether the block of granite is an obstacle or a stepping stone, whether the glass is half empty or half full. Yes you can.
“Optimists, on the other hand, seem to approach life in a way that pays off. They’re more resilient in the face of disaster or tragedy and are happier with their lives in general. But it’s not all in their heads. They are generally healthier, have stronger hearts, and tend to live longer. They’re even more resistant to colds.
One reason is because optimists learn to cope well and make connections with others who help and support, says Barbara Fredrickson, head of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina. “You’re better equipped to deal with the difficulties in life because, in the good moments, you’ve accrued more skills and resources,” she explains.” (1)
You may be able to retrain from pessimism to optimism with the help of family, friends, counselors, life coaches, or other professional, once you first decide the block of granite is a stepping stone, the glass half full.
Enjoy your optimistic life.
Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah