Optimism versus Pessimism – Is it a Trap?

My husband and I are opposites – I am optimistic generally -ready to lunge into things and Liam is the pessimist – wanting to be sure, researching the risks. Together we achieve a fine balance-though of course I prefer being optimistic!

So I was confused and fascinated to read this quote of Tom Atlee’s about being pessimistic or optimistic when initiating significant change in communities:

The Optimism/Pessimism Trap

I’ve found myself bouncing back and forth between optimism and pessimism. “Things are going to work out well.” Or: ” There’s going to be a real disaster!” It’s been really exhausting.

But lately something’s changing about all this.

I’ve begun to notice how the whole optimism/pessimism dichotomy is a death trap for my aliveness and attention. I watch myself acting as if my sense of what might happen is a description of reality. And what I notice is this: whether I expect the best or the worst, my espectations interfere with my will to act.

That’s so important I’m going to repeat it. Whether I expect the best or the worst, my expectations interfere with my will to act.

I’ve started viewing both optimism and pessimism as spectator sports, as forms of disengagement masquerading as involvement. Both optimism and pessimism trick me into judging life and betting on the odds, rather than diving into life with my whole self, with my full co-creative energy. …..

by Tom Atlee, Crisis Fatigue and the Co-creation of Positive Possibilities, Co-Intelligence Institute

I’m not too sure if I agree with Tom on this one. What about you? Get back to me with your comments.