What’s the point of pessimism?
One might imagine that it’s the optimists who will inherit the earth, leaving the pessimists to wallow in their general lack of hope and expectation.
After all, who’d want their glass half empty rather than half full?
Let’s just stop and think about this for a second.
Imagine you and I were standing one side of a chasm.
At its foot runs a piranha-infested river, and it’s – ooh – nine metres wide, a little over 29 feet 6 inches.
To jump to the other side.
As an eternal optimist, you might declare ‘no problem’.
‘Go for it.’
This, however, would be foolish.
In the extreme.
The world record for the men’s long jump currently stands at 8.95 metres (7.52 for the women’s) so even an Olympic athlete would end up as fish food.
The point about the confirmed pessimist is that he or she would probably shy away from the jump even if the gap was less than a metre.
But somewhere between these two extremes sits sensible behaviour, which I think we’d probably call realism.
I’m not sure about you, but on a bad day I can find myself taking a downcast view of the world, while longing to be the complete opposite, a total optimist.
Better, surely, to recognise that it’s being realistic about things which gives us the best hope of success.