Persistent Pessimism


An Optimistic Way of Looking at this State of Mind

Maxim Vitale
Science & Tech Editor

Despite not being my intention, I still succeed in annoying everyone around me as we approach a test, exam or evaluation. I’m constantly nervous about how I’ll do before going in, and how I did coming out. Essentially, I’m the boy who cried wolf: I tell others that I must have failed, and it turns out that I did not.

People generally respond by telling me that I’m freaking out for nothing and to stop worrying as it’s the same story every time. I’ll be fine, and I know I’ll be fine. Despite this, they continually tell me to gain some self-confidence, to be more optimistic in life. There is one huge issue with that point of view: what happens when you hope for the best, but the total opposite happens?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary states the definition of pessimism is “a feeling or belief that bad things will happen in the future: a feeling or belief that what you hope for will not happen.” The harsh reality is, nothing in life is absolutely perfect and, I do admit that hiding behind this mentality is merely a crutch.

However, I refuse to change the way I perceive the world around me. Some argue that by thinking negatively, negativity will follow you everywhere you go, that you will never be inspired to do anything and that you will fall into the deep, dark hole that is depression. What if I were to tell you that it could simply mean the opposite?

While we can’t hide from defeat or from failure, it doesn’t wind up stinging quite as much. Knowing and acknowledging the possibility of a negative outcome on a situation and tackling the issue head-on not only weakens the blow, but also increases productivity and the ability to improve. If I know where I went wrong, am aware of my mistakes and am able to realize how I could’ve done better, I could utilize that knowledge to improve myself next time. If I keep telling myself I made a huge mistake and messed up badly, when in reality I actually exceeded my own expectations, I’d be filled with joy.

Optimism is described as “a feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future: a feeling or belief that what you hope for will happen.” What winds up happening if what you hope for doesn’t happen? All this does is increase the likelihood that disappointment may come your way. It’s understandable that we all hope for good things to happen in the future, but if we sit back and wait for them, how will we know when they finally happen?

Instead of waiting for something amazing to happen and constantly being disappointed when they don’t, being a pessimist has a greater chance of allowing you to appreciate the small things. The smaller the hopes, the higher the likelihood that something may take you by surprise, or that you’ll see an opportunity you otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Expect little, and “more” will find its way to you. Expect more, and “less” will actually come true.

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