When asked if you are an optimist or a pessimist, what do you say?
Very few people will admit they are pessimists. Thanks to simplified explanations like the glass half full/half empty comparison, pessimists have been given a bad rap.
But the truth is, most of us are pessimistic from time to time, whether we call it being realistic, worrying, showing humility, or playing devil’s advocate.
Most writers have to struggle to remain optimistic. As the Great Stephen King says, “a writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave”.
If you spend half your time thinking up worst case scenarios for your characters, what makes you think you can turn that tendency off when it comes to real life? A lot of the time, you can’t.
Like many writers, I excel at the Worrying Olympics. (Is there a prize for that? Someone please tell me there’s a prize!)
Studies have shown that optimists live longer than pessimists. And no wonder: pessimism = worrying = stress = early death. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about already!
I like to think of myself as an optimist with a sun-shiny outlook on life, but the truth is–sometimes that’s true, and sometimes it’s not. When I find my brain is cluttered with various worries, I like to write them all down or talk them out with a friend. Sometimes that’s the only way to see how ridiculous my worst case scenarios are.
When I’m pessimistic, it’s usually out of some misguided attempt to protect myself. If I enter a contest, for instance, I assume I won’t win, because this assumption will somehow “protect” me from disappointment.
Mmm-hmm. You may well ask how that one is working for me.
In the rare moments that you feel pessimistic, what causes it? How do you get the glass half full again?