Existential Psychology

Optimistic Or Pessimistic

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People who are optimistic are happier and more resilient than the general population, and the reason why is obvious enough. They think, feel, and act as if what they are optimistic about had already come to pass. In other words their optimism towards an uncertain future creates positivity in their certain present.

Conversely, pessimists think, feel, and act as if what they are pessimistic about had already come to pass. In other words their pessimism towards an uncertain future creates negativity in their certain present.

And of course in both cases we often have a self-fulfilling prophecy on our hands. Attitude doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it exerts a profound influence on life choices so that what we believe will happen often ends up happening precisely because of the way we ended up acting in the interim.

It’s a tall order to shift from pessimism to optimism, which is why we suggest the intermediate stage of radical acceptance if you’re trying to become more optimistic. Realize that pessimism and optimism are both outlooks towards the future. They might take actual circumstances into account but they extrapolate these circumstances in order to make predictions. Predictions under the most sophisticated and controlled scientific conditions always have a margin for error, which is the whole reason why statisticians assign p-values to them.

If even the very best experiments are unable to predict with total accuracy how things will turn out accept that your far less sophisticated pessimistic attitude might end up being wrong too and you’ll instantly feel better.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and to evolving my own philosophical system ever since. In addition to the content on this site I offer online coaching using Skype. If you'd like to learn more about it click on the online coaching tab or if you think you'd like to set up a session send me an email at evolve@evolutioncounseling.com.

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