Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday's Question: Optimistic or not?

I was reading about optimism versus pessimism.  Did you know that optimists attract others? Apparently, over 50% preferred the company of optimists compared with a mere 3% who were more attracted to pessimists. 

I have been a "glass is half full" person as far back as I can remember.  But I think that being in Al-Anon has reinforced this positive outlook even more.  I seldom think negatively, although I have to say that environmental disasters such as the oil spill in the Gulf influence my outlook about the planet and what we are doing to it.  And the outlook isn't necessarily positive.

That being said, I thought that the Optimism Spectrum was an interesting concept to ponder.  Where along this spectrum do you happen to fall?
  • Realist: I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but simply realistic about the good and bad things in my life
  • Concrete optimist: I am optimistic, but I am realistic about the possible outcomes of events
  • Cautious optimist: I am optimistic, but I am careful not to be complacent about my good fortune
  • Situational optimist: My levels of optimism/pessimism change from situation to situation
  • Fatalist: I accept that essentially I can’t change what’s going to happen to me, whether it’s good or bad
  • Individualist: I believe that essentially I have control over what’s going to happen to me, whether it’s good or bad
  • Pessimist: I am generally pessimistic, whatever the circumstances
  • Contagious optimist: I am always optimistic, and my optimism spreads to those around me
  • Unabashed optimist: I am always very optimistic, whatever the circumstances
I would have to say that I most probably fit the description of a concrete optimist.  I seem to thrive on hope but am also realistic about what may occur based on the evidence.  I think that hope has been enhanced in my life just because of what I hear in the program.  I also realize that I don't entirely have control over what is going to happen to me, but neither do I expect that everything can be left up to my Higher Power. I have to do my part.  How about you?


    1. I'd have to say I'm more of a situational optimist - I change, depending on the situation.

      I've been told in the past that I'm too pessimistic sometimes, but I feel that may be due to the depression/anxiety that I feel from day to day. Thankfully, I am working on that.

    2. I am probably a cautious optimist.
      Nice post.

    3. Ah!! I see why I'm so unattractive now!!

      I would like to call myself the Cautious Optimist type, but that's not always true...

      I read somewhere that the mildly depressed are better at predicting the future than the merry ~ because depressive types tend to factor failure into their equations and of course not everything turns out as well as we might hope ;->...

    4. Definitely a concrete optimist.

      I do believe things can and will work themselves to the good if you put forth the effort.

      I am not one to sit still and wish, except maybe for the lottery, I am a doer. To make things happen you must work towards that goal. I am a goal setter and I work to acheive my goals. If you are a goal setter I cannot see how you could be a pessimist.

    5. Concrete optimist for me. I guess I think that by being realistic I somehow am preparing for the worst. I need to just hand it all over to HP, give up the fight, and I'm sure I could be even more optimistic.

    6. When I look it over I think I would LIKE to be a concrete optimist so...that's what I'll be. At least I'm realistically optimistic about being one.

    7. I'm probably a situational optimist, although there are times when I probably appear to be a pessimist of some sort. I want my loved ones to use caution in their lives and not get hurt, but I am hoping for the best. :-)

    8. I am likely a cautious optimist, when I am in good form. Otherwise I am more of a situational optimist...

      This is a great, thought provoking post!

    9. Let me add this correction (that will teach me to skim and to chime in with others!) In my very best form I am a contagious optimist. I am likely to become that more consistently as make the best of the life to come....

    10. Before addiction: Individualist

      After addiction: between a situational optimist which has become my usual mode and a concrete optimist on my best days. Interesting question from a thoughtful man.


    11. Trying to live life "keeping it simple" makes it a little difficult to choose, but I would say I'm somewhere between a concrete and a cautious optimist. This was not always so.


    12. ah heck. I don't know where I'd fall. I'm smiley and happy all of the time but, live in denial of important things going on...avoid conflict. I think I have more recovery to get under my belt.

    13. Ahhh, this is a tough one for me - because - for the future I am usually optimistic, for everyone else I am usually optimistic, and my optimism can be contagious. (Here's the BUT...) but, for myself in the past and present I tend to be down on myself, glass half-empty. The interesting thing is this... Al-Anon is FILLING MY GLASS!!!! So much so that this morning I woke up when my husband was getting ready just to tell him all the great things going on in my life right now - so not like "me"! :)
      God bless.
      Thank you for this thoughtful post!

    14. I was born an optimist.
      It is what fuels my hopes
      in this life and for this world.

      Great post, always.

    15. I think I'm a concrete optimist.

    16. yeah, i fall into the concrete as well...hope for the best but realise i am ok if it doesn't

    17. From this list, I think I am a cautious optimist with most situations in my life. Overall, I view my life as good and feel extremely blessed. However, I am fairly pessimistic about ever experiencing lasting relief from my depression and anxiety symptoms. My emotions (which are usually pessimistic)seem to be at war with my intellect (which is the optimistic side.) I hope one day for my thoughts and emotions to actually start communicating with one another!

    18. Ordinarily (the word fits!) I am of the "contagious" variety, because I am enthusiastic about almost everything.

      But I slip into other categories from time to time, not knowingly or willingly--then bounce right back.

    19. Gonna have to go with pessimist and sometimes situational optimist...trying to be concrete optimist.

    20. Syd, this post is great! It's right up my alley. As someone who is striving to live a more positive life, the concept of being an optimist (and the various layers of optimism) is very important to me. Thanks for writing about this!

    21. Hmmm, I think I am situational... I'd love to be living in a land of unobstructed joy and hope, but I have flashes of fatalism lol. Situational it is!

    22. I'm more of an optimist even when things look pretty bleak. Stay strong.

    23. I am between a situational optimist and an individualist. I guess that's why I think the serenity prayer is for me: Accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. Good post.


    Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.