Monday, March 17, 2008

Optimistic Signs Abound for Pessimists

"Probably won't work anyway..." Eeyore

I hate being a pessimist. Yet, here I am happily wallowing knee deep in it. I want more than anything to have hopeful, optimistic feelings about the future. I mean really, what else have we got if we haven't got the future?

Optimistic people are said to be happier. I like happiness, I guess. But just hold on a minute. Pessimistic people are thought to have a more realistic outlook on life. For instance: have you ever played the Power Ball lottery? Ok, who has a better grip on reality every Wednesday and Saturday night? I rest my case.

Maybe it's just the constant stream of bad news coming at me 24/7 from cable TV news. Maybe it's this perpetual Presidential election. Maybe it's $3.00 a gallon gasoline. Maybe it's the deflated sense that people in my life will never live up to my meager expectations of them. Then of course there is me, myself and I, Mr. Disappointment himself.

Attitude Baby, Attitude
I guess it's really all about attitude, right? We all know from the 657 worthless self help books we have read that attitude is the key to everything (after communication, of course). There is nothing the right attitude can't cure. Ah, well, except pessimism.

What is the difference anyhow: An optimist explains away bad and painful events as temporary, isolated and external. What a putz! The pessimist explains them as permanent, pervasive, and personal. Yeah, now you're talking.

Pessimists Unite!
Never mind, no one will show up anyway.

Take The Test
from Dr. Martin Seligman's book, "Learned Optimism"

Here are my results:

Permanence Bad Score = moderately pessimistic
Permanence Bad Score = moderately pessimistic
Permanence Good Score = very pessimistic
Pervasiveness Bad Score = very pessimistic
Pervasiveness Good Score = average
Stuff of Hope = severely hopeless
Personalization Bad Score = very high self-esteem
Personalization Good Score = average
Total Bad Score moderately = pessimistic
Total Good Score thinking is = quite pessimistic
Good minus Bad Score = very pessimistic

I think I win!!! No wait I sure some one will get extremely pessimistic. Dang it, I knew I wouldn't win...