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The Positive Side of Pessimism

Yes, you read that right – there is a positive side to being pessimistic.

When I first encountered the positive aspects of being negative, I was as surprised as you are.

Think about it: it’s so easy for us to slip into worry mode and wonder, “What if this doesn’t work out?” “I’m not sure about this” or “Am I doing the right thing here?” And you know what?  The reason it’s so natural for us to slip into this line of thinking is because we homo sapiens have been wired this way.

Our reptilian part of the brain defaults to the worst-case scenario to keep us out of trouble.

You can see this reflex was crucial when surviving day to day was a case of eating or being eaten.  Obviously modern life no longer poses this kind of threat but we still have the same instincts we had as newbies on this planet.  That’s why being worried and wondering “if” is easier for us than thinking, “Everything’s going to work out.”

Speaking of which, and this leads to the second positive aspect of pessimism: studies have shown that pessimists have a more accurate and realistic take on life situations than optimists.  If you want to know what actually happened ask a pessimist.  They won’t embellish or sugar coat or make inferences like an optimist might be inclined to do.

A pessimist may be a cop’s best witness and yours too as long as you’re not asking them if you’re going to win the case.

Kita Szpak is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.

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