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Rational Pessimism vs. Irrational Optimism

12 February 2013, 07:03

Can (rational) pessimism improve your general mood? Simply put, do (irrational) optimists exaggerate their chances of success, thereby setting themselves up for disappointment when they fail, whereas (rational) pessimists are more realistic about their chances, thereby not getting angry when they fail and achieving satisfaction when they succeed? Does this make it a better outlook?

Please note that I’m asking a question and not presenting this as a fact or statement. I’m inviting input on whether you think that there’s something to this outlook. Also, please note, in answering, that this is not comparing rational optimism with rational pessimism, as there’s probably not much between the two, other than realism. This compares rational pessimism with (irrational) optimism, i.e. the kind that involves assuming that you’ll succeed, contrary to all statistics that indicate that you probably wont.


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