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November 20, 2008


David P

A paradox sometimes associated with optimism is that the only thing an optimist cannot view as positive is a pessimist. Pessimism, however, as it acts as a check to recklessness, may even then be viewed in a positive light.


To study whether optimism-pessimism modifies escalation of commitment, 52 undergraduates were told that they had made an unsuccessful investment, then they chose to continue or discontinue this investment. Optimism about future returns was induced in one group by varying the probability of a successful outcome from an initial low to medium, pessimism was induced in another group by varying this probability from an initial high to medium. Supporting the assumption of the manipulation, the results showed that optimistic participants preferred to continue investments whereas pessimistic participants preferred not to. As predicted, when the sunk cost increased, optimism led to escalation of commitment, whereas pessimism led to de-escalation of commitment. These effects were strengthened when probability of a successful outcome was ambiguous.


No one has hurt themselves smiling or frowning…but I don't think any of us have the energy to smile or frown all the time. In the end, it may be that the key to life and happiness is this: There's nothing wrong with hanging out on cloud nine but for goodness sake, wear a parachute.


I think we should make a difference between optimism and overoptimism. I think that overoptimism can be more destructive than pessimism because you can not face reality. You think everything is nice and beautiful until one day comes that you have to come down from cloud 9 ! In order to set goals and achieve them in life, we have to be realistic. To do so, we also need a small dose of pessimism.


I really do my best to look at the bright side of life, but I must admit that there are days when I seem to be more negative than positive and I find it's not always easy to get rid of that negativity.


The optimist creed is an example to follow for each one of us. When we learn to forget and forgive, to get rid of negative feelings like anger, fear, jealousy, bitterness, resent, to look ahead into the future and believe we can be great achievers, we could eventually find happiness, success and peace of mind. Surely, it's not an easy task as we are human and imperfect but it's worth trying. Great blog, Anastasia. Have a lovely weekend!


I think I have a long way to go, Anastasia to start thinking positive. I'm working on it but on the other hand by considering the disadvantages rather than the advantages of a situation , I don't risk to be disappointed in case things dont turn up the way I want them. Filakia. Have a great weekend


The biggest difference between people is their attitudes. For some, learning is enjoyable and exciting. For others, learning is a drudgery. For many, learning is just okay, something required on the road to a job.

As Abraham Lincoln said"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Our present attitudes are habits, built from the feedback of parents, friends, society and self, that form our self-image and our world-image. These attitudes are maintained by the inner conversations we constantly have with ourselves, both consciously and subconsciously. And our whole attitude pessimist or optimist depends on these inner conversations and their outcome.


Is it better to be realistic or optimistic? A realistic outlook improves chances to negotiate the environment successfully, whereas an optimistic outlook places priority on feeling good. But are realistic and optimistic outlooks necessarily in conflict?The fuzzy nature of accuracy typically places only loose boundaries on what it means to be realistic. As a result, there are many forms of optimism that do not, in principle, yield unrealistic assessments. Nevertheless, there remain numerous "optimistic biases" that do involve self-deception, or convincing oneself of desired beliefs without appropriate reality checks.


Referring to Emma's comment, realistic does not necessarily mean pessimistic although pessimists often use realism as an argument. So no, realistic and optimistic are not really in conflict. I believe that being both realistic and optimistic leads to great results. Whereas being pessimistic only leads to unhappiness. Surely there's a golden middle. I agree that over-optimism or optimistic biases often bring about a very negative result.


very nice blog ms anastasia... as i have told u before, your postive outlook in life is what i like most about you. pessimism does no one any good. i mean its normal to sometimes be sad and feel down when one is really having difficulties in life, but to entirely be dwelling in the negativity will just make things worse.

"the optimist already sees the scar over the wound, the pessimist still sees the wound underneath the scar."


Dear Summer, thank you very much for the great quote. I must admit that there were times in my life when I was unable to see the silver lining on my my cloud. But that was only for a while.Seeing the scar over the wound rather than the wound underneath the scar,can only contribute to a much happier life.


Laughter, joy and happiness is healthy for you. They say laughter is the best medicine. It can cure illness and extends life. A good laugh boosts the immune system, relieves depression and stress, relaxes all the body's muscles, is good exercise for the heart and helps prevent heart attacks, it cleanses the lungs, and provides an overall sense of well being.

We don't need to wait for someone else to bring us happiness - happiness is a choice we can make at any time we want. You can choose to look on the good side of things and take life more lightly, or you can choose to think gloomy and sad. It's up to you. Life is the movie you see through your own eyes - it's up to you how you take it.

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