Positive Pessimism


A friend recently uploaded an image to his facebook wall which had the below quoted on it.

 Image

A Negative thinker sees a difficulty in every opportunity.

A Positive thinker sees an opportunity in every difficulty.

While very nice and inspiring – in a way, it is also quite a cliche and I tend to have trouble swallowing cliches.

I was once sweet-talked into arranging a meeting with a chap who was recruiting, or should I say trying in my case, people to join him in a form aof Pyramid Scheme. Ok, granted, this scheme was not exactly a pure pyramid scheme and seemed quite legitimate but pyramid schemes have always been something I have been very weary of and shyed away from them the minute I realise that dreaded word was part of the package.

This meeting turned out to be a regurgitation of almost every puerile cliche that exists. While I sat opposit my recruiter-wannabe with my cappucino going ice-cold in record time thanks to my icey stare and a most plastic of smiles pasted onto my face, I was groaning, squirming, writhing and screaming inside. Why I though… why must I be punished so?

I don’t think I need to say this, but I never took up the offer. Recruit me he did not!

Right back to Positive Pessimism and all that, what I actually started rambling about before going off on a tangopoli. Cliches aside, the above quote is quite simplistic. Too simplistic actually and won’t really work out in the real world. I always thought myself an optimist but life tends to teach you lessons and the fool-hardy, happy-go-lucky optimism of youth tends to get a bit tainted. Situations and opportunities may present themselves and you start to think… hmm it really can’t be that simple.

So I got into the habit of looking for problems that may crop up. Others would label me as being problematic, argumentative, always putting spokes in the wheels, a negative thinker as the above quote would have it. yet I didn’t, don’t and will never see it that way. What’s the point of jumping at an opportunity if you don’t think out the problems that may crop up beforehand? What’s the point of diving into situation without even giving a moments thought to the problems that will no doubtedly besett you in order to have contingeny plans or better still avoid the problem outright?

That is not negativity, that is not being a pessimist or putting spokes in one’s wheels. It is defintely not being a trouble-maker.

Its what the Scouts would call – Being prepared

But few seem to understand that.

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5 thoughts on “Positive Pessimism

  1. Kevin Casha

    Agree with you Mike. I always try to think things out before rushing into anything. The urge is there, particularly because of our fast and breathless lifestyle, to decide quickly – so one needs to resist and take his time and think more.
    Although time is becoming a rare commodity, I have always considered it as a very useful “friend.”

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