Optimism is the tragedy of the 21st century. Despite what the popular opinion may be, I have found that, adopting it as frame of mind, can often promote short-sightedness and wishful-thinking. When life doesn’t go as planned, we suffer unproportionally. — This is especially true when the stakes are high. A pessimistic approach towards global warming is often also the most realistic.
Unlike optimism, a pessimist outlook provides us with information we can use to grow. This makes it more useful to have as a frame of mind. Having an awareness about what might go wrong, can make you better equipped to deal with whatever life might throw at you.
a. Imagine the worst case scenario. This will enable you to see situations from a higher level and help you plan for a future you cannot control.
By contemplating bad outcomes, you can come up with plans to prevent or deal with them. Imagining a work presentation going wrong, will get you to put more effort into making sure it doesn’t. Anticipating a crisis, will keep you on your toes and make you more long-term oriented.
b. Do not spend time or energy with things you cannot control. Pessimism can be useful when it enables you to plan ahead and take action. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we choose to deal with what happens. That’s what I’m advocating.
c. Realise that, whatever you may have today can be taken away tomorrow. Let this be a reminder that keeps you humble and grateful.