Sep 28

Are you an optimist?  Do you like to look on the bright side?  Do you see the glass as half-full instead of half-empty?  Do you tend to tell friends who are going through hard times things like, “Don’t worry, things will get better,” or, “Smile, at least things can’t get any worse”?  I’m sorry, but things don’t always “get better,” and things can always “get worse.”  In fact, I recommend that if you are going through hard times, you should not only not expect things to get better… but plan on them getting worse!  I’m a pessimist, and I’m proud of it.

Being a pessimist isn’t always easy.  Sometimes, we too let a little bit of hope crowd its way into our daily lives.  However, once that hope is shattered by the lead bullet of reality (hollow-point-style), we are quickly reminded why we chose to be a pessimist in the first place.  That’s right, I wrote “chose”, because being a pessimist or an optimist is initially a choice.  Over the course of a lifetime, different experiences form our attitudes and opinions, and we can chose how to experience those… well… experiences.  My belief is that most of us start out pretty naturally optimistic.  Our parents take care of us.  We always have food in our tummies.  When we get a boo-boo, there is someone to kiss it.  Santa Claus is going to bring those presents.  The tooth fairy leaves some pocket change for our lost teeth. Our friends are going to be happy to see us after a summer apart when school starts in the fall.  When we make a mistake, an apology is all that it is going to take to make things all better again.  And then reality sets in.  Over the summer, maybe we put on a little weight and now have a belly (yes… I’m a fatty), or maybe we developed a case of acne.

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Rich as a kid...

Don't call me "pizza face"... that just makes me hungry for pizza!

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Our friends may still be happy to see us, but they are making fun of us as well.  The reunion with those friends we hadn’t seen over the summer isn’t as enjoyable as we had imagined it would be.  Or maybe we studied really hard for that final exam and believed we were going to ace it… and then we barely pass because the stupid teacher made it an essay test instead of multiple choice… and she didn’t care for the way we worded our answers… and our GPA plummeted.  Or maybe you ask that nice, pretty fellow-junior girl to the prom, and she tells you that she won’t go with you because she is expecting that tall, popular, good looking senior boy to ask her.  Or perhaps you apply for that dream job only to be told that you aren’t as outgoing as the person needed to fill the position… and that stupid optimism leads to more hurt and pain than necessary if we had just been more realistic in our expectations.  We slowly learn that pessimism is synonymous with avoiding pain.

My belief is that people who have more positive experiences in life tend to be more optimistic.  For people whom life isn’t quite as “fair”, pessimism is the road more often chosen.  There are those who would argue that optimists attract more positivity because of their optimism, but I would disagree.  I believe an optimist is more optimistic because, through physical appearance, family wealth, station in life, or plain and simple luck, they tend to have more positive experiences.  Of course this is not all inclusive, nor is it, in my strange little belief system, a steadfast rule.  There are people who have a picture-perfect life who tend to be pretty negative, and there are people whom life has completely screwed who are able to keep their chins up… but these are the exceptions and not the rules.    However, as a basic, general rule, I believe I am right.

It always kills me when the pretty person who comes from the upper-middle class family says stuff like, “If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything,” or, “I don’t understand negative people…”  Of course you don’t understand negative people!  It’s easy to have sky-high self-esteem when the masses in general find you attractive and you and your family aren’t worrying about how they are going to pay for your college.  The world population in general treats people it finds attractive different than it treats the rest of us.  Don’t believe me?  A middle-aged, overweight woman in a muumuu is broken down on the side of the road.

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Pessimist

Please, won't someone help me? My belly has fallen and it can't get up!

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Along that same stretch of road, a twenty-something of better-than-average appearance wearing short-shorts is broken down as well.

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Optimist

Do you really think she is going to have any trouble getting free roadside assistance?

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Who do you think is going have more offers of help from passersby (and I’m guessing that this would be consistently higher for both men and women stopping).   Which one of these stranded ladies do you think tends to be more optimist… and rightfully so.  Nobody said that life was going to be fair… but it seems to be less unfair when you’re good looking (or so it seems from a relatively unattractive person’s viewpoint).

Let’s move on to success.  Who do you think is going to have a better shot at a career in sales: an attractive gentleman who has a aura of financial success

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Dude

Buy from me... because I obviously make a lot of money doing this.

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… or the poor, ugly schmoe who, based on appearances, you would be afraid to leave your small children in a room alone with.

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Perv

Hey... I got some candy in my left-front pocket. Why don't you reach in there and grab yourself a little piece!

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Which of these gentlemen do you believe would be more optimistic?  Of course it’s the rich-looking dude… that’s how life works.  This is why the wealthy constantly find themselves on the cover of the local newspaper.  There are articles about how this rich person is doing this, and that rich person is doing that.  One local rich guy is going to be on TV on the Speed channel because he is rich and has fancy cars.  Do you think this guy is more of an optimist or pessimist?  I, on the other hand, am not rich (well, I am “Rich”… I’m just not “rich”… stupid name).  I’ve never been on the cover of the local newspaper, even though I did write a relatively funny article about technology one time.  I work relatively hard and have what I consider to be a strong work ethic.  In my 42-years of life, I have never once called in sick to a job.  I’d have to be puking my guts out with a brain-searing fever to consider calling in sick.  Luckily, I don’t get sick very often.  When I do get sick, I have never felt that I was sick enough to not be of some value to my employer.  Want to know what my years of working through my mild illnesses has garnered me?  Absolutely NOTHING… except boiling my blood pressure whenever I have to take-up the slack of someone who has called in sick.  And the pessimism simmers below the surface all the while… eroding my hope and will into the darkest abyss.

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Dark Abyss

Don't know what this exactly has to do with the "darkest abyss," I just love this picture. Goth stuff is cool...

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Pessimism is a defense mechanism.  Like I stated earlier, we all pretty much start out as optimists.  It’s only after (usually) years of unmet expectations and irreconcilable defeats that we develop our pessimism.  When you expect a positive outcome, and that outcome is negative instead of positive, it hurts.  A few of these defeats are natural and build character… or something psychobabblish like that.  After a few, the pain involved with the disappointment of failure becomes more powerful than any character-building gains you may receive.  We begin to expect the worst.  In most situations, the pessimist is the voice of restraint (or, as I like to think of it, “reason”); the one who has thought-out all of the possible negative outcomes to any given process or procedure.  The pessimist isn’t prone to “dream”, because “dreams” in the past have meant painful disappointment.  To refrain from hope is to avoid the torture interwoven with that hope’s demise.  And guess what… every once in awhile, things don’t turn out as poorly as we expected they would… and that is a gracious surprise!  Like around 17-years ago when I asked my wife to marry me.  Do you think I had any hope that she would say yes?  Of course not!  I expected a resounding “NO WAY”, and then I would have been free to get on with my miserable life.  However, she surprised me by saying “yes” and it was a pleasant surprise indeed.  If I had actually been expecting it and she had said yes, it wouldn’t have been a surprise, nor would it have meant as much.  So, by avoiding the optimistic risk-taking that so often ends in failure and despair, we actually glean a gleam of happiness when our negativity is proven wrong.  It is better to be wrong and happy about being wrong than it is to be wrong amongst the shattered remains of a precious dream.  Pessimists don’t dream much.

The problem with being a pessimist is that we don’t dream much.  Sometimes, in order to find some sort of value in this life, we need to dream.  Often, after decades of having giving-up on all dreams, the pessimist forgets how to dream.  This isn’t necessarily bad, since dreams so often lead to disappointment.  However, at times, the pessimist may find that a dream is something he or she may want to work towards making come true.  We used to have the choice to be optimistic or pessimistic in any given situation.  After so much time passing with pessimism working so well for us, we forget how to be positive.  We forget how to believe in ourselves or others.  We still have a choice, but we have forgotten how or lost the tools necessary to follow a dream with a positive attitude.  We can’t see the glass as half-full.  We don’t really even see it as half-empty anymore.  Now, we believe that because the glass isn’t full to the brim, it’s not even worth drinking… and through our stubbornness we run the risk of dehydration.  The choice is still there, but the pain that used to be experienced by being an optimist has reached legendary proportions in our memories, and it is a very difficult choice to make.  So, we usually continue along in our pessimistic ways with the occasional happy surprise of being wrong.  And we hate optimists.

We are all equal in the eyes of God, and He loves us all equally as His children.  Sometimes, I’m sure, He has to wonder what exactly we are thinking when we do stupid stuff, but He still loves us.

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Jesus has a sense of humor
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However, in the eyes of man, the pretty people with the money rule and find themselves with the self-confidence necessary to be optimistic on a day-to-day basis… which leads to less misery in this realm.  I wish I had been born with good looks and money, but I’m afraid I posses neither.  My only hope for a touch of optimism while here on earth is the coming zombie apocalypse.  My hope is that when the zombies attack, they will go for the rich, pretty people first.  It’s only fair that those who have had people falling all over them because of their looks and wealth in this life also have the brain-starved zombies falling all over them during the apocalypse.

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Die, optimist!

Die, optimist... DIE!

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Then again… nobody said life was fair…

18 Responses to “The Power of Pessimism… or, Why Optimists Piss Me Off…”

  1. Nancy Says:

    First of all, love the Facepalm graphic. Hilarious.

    Second of all, on this part:

    We still have a choice, but we have forgotten how or lost the tools necessary to follow a dream with a positive attitude. We can’t see the glass as half-full. We don’t really even see it as half-empty anymore. Now, we believe that because the glass isn’t full to the brim, it’s not even worth drinking… and through our stubbornness we run the risk of dehydration.

    I think you’re on target, but I’d say that we think our glass is BROKEN. After years of giving your best and not feeling like your cup is full, you figure it just can’t hold as much as other cups. (Does that make sense?)

    And like you said, sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised when your cup is filled, but it’s a treat to you while others seem to take it for granted.

  2. Adventurer Rich Says:

    Broken glass… yeah, that makes sense… and I like it :)

  3. Lee Says:

    Some times I just wish I had a glass.

  4. Adventurer Rich Says:

    Lee… maybe we need to go shopping for new glasses…

  5. ann ledesma Says:

    where have you been, you wonderful creature! i have been a pessimist since i reached the age of reason and i cultivate it because it has made me as resourceful as Bugs Bunny. You are right as can be about attractive people, such as amanda knox, would the verdict have been different if she’d been a troll? hope rhymes with dope as far as i can see and why play yourself right into a crashdown? best to start from the bottom and find plan a, plan b, plan c and all the way to z. keep on bloggin!

  6. Adventurer Rich Says:

    Ann, glad you liked the post! Where have I been? Well, stuck in rural Nebraska, I’m afraid. Glad to find another pessimist who is proud of being a pessimist :)

  7. Judy Says:

    Had to comment because I am an optimist, and proud of it. I do admit that the harder life gets, the harder it is to be an optimist, but I will keep smiling away! It’s gotta help me live longer, be healthier, happier, etc., dont’ ya think? Flowers & butterflies for everyone!

  8. Adventurer Rich Says:

    Recent scientific research has proven that people who are always happy and bubbly actually have a brain defect. Judy, you may need to be examined by a professional….

  9. Ghostwheel Says:

    From personal observation, I have found that confirmed pessimists actually live longer than their optimistic counterparts. Why? Because pessimists are not constantly stuffing down the bad feelings and pretending life is hunky dory and causing their own illnesses from being in denial. So does that make me an optimist because I think being a pessimist is healthier?

    Oh no, I’ve spilled my full glass of water on the roses so they will grow and the thorns will prick my fingers when I pick the pretty flowers to enjoy causing blood to drop on my favorite shirt that is worn out anyway but can be used for a rag to wipe up the water that spilled from my full glass!

  10. Adventurer Rich Says:

    Wow, Ghostwheel… wow. You have soooo portrayed the nature of optimism in a manner that even the strictest optimist would have to admit makes the whole idea of optimism appear as it really is: stupid. You’re awesome… thanks for the comment!

  11. anonymous Says:

    Are you really a pessimist like I am? I sure hope that you mean it.

  12. Factual Says:

    Optimism hopes for the positive, doesn’t mean they believe it. Still fully equipped to deal with something that goes wrong…

    I’m not an optimistic person, but still, understand it… eghegh.

    Optimism isn’t stupid, either. The nice thing about it? You can go from being disappointed to seeing the positive of that disappointment. Like “that party was a real bummer, I thought it’d be better” to “Well, now I know how to make it better, next time I’m putting my hair up like a unicorn!”

    Actually I’ve always considered optimism to be better, despite not being completely it. It’s a drive to make something that won’t work work. The optimistic inventor? God – that’s genius. The person who’ll just keep trying to invent something, trying new tactics and going “Aha! I’m sure this is it, let’s go!” and if it doesn’t? “Well, I’m sure if I add a few more rubber bands, we got this!”
    And sure, you get disappointed. Get your hopes up and down again? Well a truly optimistic person would see the “well, I can try again” side.

    Pessimists, on the otherhand, would simply believe what they did will not work until thorough examination. Which is nice? But I guess it comes down to the preference of having the experience to know what works and doesn’t and simply getting the answer.

    Also, the whole bit with that thing about how anything will work if you believe in yourself? That’s a tad bit optimism mingled with ignorance, but under no account are the two directly connected.

    I do have my optimistic moments and I always liked them a bit more. Always behaving pessimistic in my opinion is much worse. You’ll never have as much fun unless you can simply stay in that mindset? It’s really hard to do that, but it kind of does work… a bit.
    And you can’t argue that, it honestly is a proven psychology study (not directly).

  13. Brittany Scott Says:

    Finally someone else who doesn’t endorse the cult of optimism. I am glad I am not the only non-suporter of positive thinking. Like, seriously, I think most optimists seem to be oblivious to the reality that bad things in life can and will happen; that’s part of life. I believe in expecting the worst possible outcomes and preparing for them. That way if the outcome is bad, the disappointment won’t hurt as bad as it would if I had high expectations and hopes for a good outcome. People always tell me that I need to think positive at all times. I think that is a pile of fresh funky horse fecal matter on the ground that just fell out of the horse’s ass seconds ago. It is the worst advice ever given to me and it is not very helpful or beneficial to me at all. No one is going to force optimism on me when I have worries and doubts about things. I simply ain’t going to let that happen. For me, it hurts too much to hope for the best and have high expectations only to be crushed and disappointed when the outcome is not what I had hoped for. Hope is both a bad breakfast and a bad dinner to me. So I let go of hope because it always leaves me feeling disappointed anyway. A man is interested in me right now but I am expecting that his interest in me will not last. In fact, I am expecting that it won’t be long before he soon disappoints me and decides to move on. I expect all good things to come to an end and not last forever. So getting my hopes up over this potential friendship is nothing but a recipe for heartache and disaster. Optimism is nothing to be messed with if I don’t want to fall in a bottomless pit of repeated disappointments and despair. That is with anything in life: potential friendships with the opposite gender, applying for that dream job, a job interview, caring for young children, and more. If I think positive, the risk of falling in the rose bushes and getting poked up with its painful thorns increases to 100%. Then after the nasty fall, I would go home many nights with stinging scratches on my arms and hands with slight bleeding from those painful thorns. If I view the world with a pollyanna view of the world all the time, wearing those rose bush-tented glasses will take a toll on my vision from years of getting my eyes poked up and injured by those thorns, damaging my eyes. I can’t keep on those rose bush-tented glasses, they blind me from reality. And all that sunshine gives me a headache. The optimist may see that glass half-full. However, they have not considered the fact that the glass is not shatterproof. If the glass is knocked off the table, it will shatter to the floor and become sharp shards of glass that is guaranteed to cut your hands and feet and then blood will drip out. And now the water and broken glass is all over the floor and has to be mopped and sweeped up. Now is the glass half-full empty or half-full now? I see the glass as a breakable whether it has water in it or not. Once the glass hits the floor hard, that’s the end of the glass of water.

  14. Brittany Scott Says:

    Oh, I think pessimists can live fairly content lives and take care of their health. They are not necessarily the stereotypical sad-sacked Debbie Downers that no one wants to be around. A pessimist can be just as successful as the optimist as long as they don’t expect too much or let hope get in the way of protecting themselves from disappointment and despair.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    I’m optimistic and I’ll be optimistic forever no matter how bad things get. I hate pessimistic people and wish you didn’t have to be that way. If I had it my way the world would be equal and good for everyone and I don’t care if you think I sound stupid. I never actually say any of these thoughts out loud so if I stay quiet I can blend in with you! I hope you have a wonderful day and smile about something willingly! Not because I told you!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

  16. another pessimist Says:

    screw you optimists who can’t leave pessimists alone! this blog’s for pessimists and not optimists! if you can’t stand pessimists, then shut the hell up and get the fuck off of here like the judgmental bastards you are! hell, i’d ban your sorry asses if i made this website.

  17. This Blog And Comments Are Retarded AF Says:

    You bitches sound depressing and borderline suicidal. The longest comment pissed me off the most. I started to read the blog, but I ended up stopping because it’s ridiculous and really fucking retarded.
    Seems like pessimists sound like a bunch of whiny ass tools who bitch about anything good happening to you in life. You fuckers are worse than my granny. She’s a pessimist too.
    Saying that pessimism/optimism is a choice, is like saying depression is a choice – so goddamn ignorant to say. Just fucking stupid dude.
    I’m not an optimist. I am quite negative at life, but at least I don’t write blogs or comments trying to tell people how “life works”.
    There are many ugly people who are successful and/or famous. Ugly/pretty is merely an opinion, especially about yourself. You cannot determine how successful you’re gonna be by your looks. You might as well say that if you’re black, you’re gonna have a harder time being successful in life. You sound like an ignorant little insecure low self esteem having cunt.
    I got really pissed off when the longest comment said “that’s a part of life”. So the fuck what? That’s YOUR life, boo. Not everyone else’s! Is that your go to advice when someone loses their mom or gets raped? Don’t ever reproduce.
    None of you should reproduce. You’d probably tell your kids that “all good things come to an end” and that ugly/fat people can’t succeed, pushing your child to hanging him or herself. Good fucking job. That’s what I get from your blog. “If you’re fat or ugly, kill yourself! LOL!”
    Optimism is really annoying to me. Pessimism, though? Y’all are worse than antinatalists, and I can’t stand those motherfuckers.
    Y’all really need to lighten the fuck up and go get some dick and/or pussy, whatever you fucking prefer!
    If God truly gave a fuck about humans, why the fuck are there humans and systems where being “attractive” means a guarantee at getting away with blatant baby murder, something that your “God” let happen! Fuck your god! When your negative ass prays to him tonight, tell him to suck my dildo and kill himself – oh wait, he already has killed himself before.
    Ahhhh. Optimism vs Pessimism. No better, no worse.

  18. This Blog And Comments Are Retarded AF Says:

    I had some grammar errors in there, but oh well. Y’all really inspire me to never be friends with a pessimist. I could NOT be friends with y’all.

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