Ripples v9.38: Optimism!

Ripples v9.38: Optimism!
9/17/07: a free weekly splash from Paul & The Ripples Project


Optimism is essential to achievement,
and it is also the foundation of courage and of true progress.
-Nicholas Murray Butler, submitted by Joycelyn F., Reedsburg WI


No pessimist ever discovered
the secrets of the stars,
or sailed to an uncharted land,
or opened a new heaven
to the human spirit.
-Hellen Keller, submitted by Lori W.


Many of you have heard me jokingly say that another word for “optimistic” is “delusional.”

Studies have shown that optimistic people tend to overestimate their intelligence, skill level, attractiveness, and the outcome of certain events. They are inaccurate, and yet they remain optimistic that “everything will turn out just fine!” Pessimists (who I think sometimes cower under the label of “realist” even if that doesn’t quite accurately describe their common state of mind), like to relish the truth in statements such as “If you don’t want to be disappointed, lower your expectations.”

Which is better? I suppose it depends on what you are looking for. If you want to be RIGHT most of the time, it is probably better to be pessimistic; if you want to be HAPPY, perhaps an extra dose of optimism might be a great prescription to try. Of course, that assessment doesn’t include the issue of self fulfilling prophecies. Those of us with high expectations for ourselves and others may not find those expectations filled, but since people tend to rise to meet those expectations we are far better off when we and those around us get CLOSE! If you want your expand your team, you could shoot for 2-3 new members and probably meet your goal OR you could be wildly optimistic and try for 20 new members. You may only get half way there with 10 new members, but that is many more smiling faces than with the pessimistic goal.

C’mon, try it this week and see how it goes! I OPTIMISTICALLY believe that all 16,000 of us can go out there and be more OPTIMISTIC this week!


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