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By Jeremy Dean


Imagine you divided everyone in the world into two psychological groups. You put all the optimists on one side and all the pessimists on the other (let’s leave the realists aside for now).


Amongst the optimists the conversation would all be about fantastic plans for the future and how things can only get better.


Meanwhile the pessimists are having what might seem to the optimists like a depressing discussion. Far from working out how to make their dreams come true, they’re worrying about all the things that might go wrong. They’re worried that even the things they have will be taken away from them by some cruel twist of fate.


To the optimists, the pessimists seem too down on everything, always just a little too keen to pour cold water on any exciting plans.


To the pessimists, though, the optimists are out of touch with reality. Can’t they see what a nasty, cruel and accident-prone world we live in? They are deluding themselves!


Which is better?


Over the years psychologists have examined many aspects of pessimism and optimism. They’ve wondered whether there are more optimists or pessimists. And they’ve tried to find out which approach is ‘better’. Naturally both camps are fascinated to see which way this one goes.


In fact there’s good news for all. There are some advantages to optimism like it seems to make people feel better about life. But there are also advantages for pessimism in that thinking the worst helps some pessimists cope better with the world.


But we should be less concerned with which is ‘better’ or which camp is larger and more interested in why people see the world in such different ways in the first place.


After all, when an extreme optimist talks to an extreme pessimist, it’s like they come from two completely different worlds. How do people come to be polarized in this way?


Read in Full: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/03/17/pessimism-vs-optimism/




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