Optimism, pessimism, and getting stuff done

I’m somewhat wary of self-proclaimed optimists because of their negative views about people they consider pessimists. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not talking of people who have a positive energy and view with regards to life, though they are optimists, too; I am talking of people who keep insisting that they see the glass half-full and are always happy, and who assume that anyone not claiming to be an all-bubbly optimistic is a pessimist. I am talking, possibly, of all those well-built aunts who smacked my back jovially, all 80-kilos force in their cheerful gesture, and told me, “Be Happy!” while I tried not to groan as I twisted myself back into shape.

I have often wondered why optimists cannot see the glass half-full when viewing persons they consider pessimists.

The funniest part is when optimists start blaming others for pulling them down. One would think their optimism would have survived that 🙂

The oddity of such externalized blame struck me first around four years ago when a merrily positive soul told me he wanted to run the marathon that year. Now, running a marathon figures in many a wishlist, and often stagnates as a doomed-to-remain-a-wish item. I have it on my 43things list myself, if I remember right. But to meet someone who had a specific target of doing so by the year end was both intriguing and inspiring, and after some initial ooohs and aaahs, I started asking him about the training plan and stuff like that. Oh boy, what a mistake that was. I was labeled as the one pulling him down with my questions and making him look away from his dream and stuff like that, as if my asking him practical questions was the same as saying he cannot do it. (He’s become a pessimist since, and manages to run a few kilometers regularly)

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