“Always hope for the best, Nothing can go wrong”- is the usual reaction of others and yourself when the possibility of an upcoming problem is seen at a distance. We have always been taught to remain calm in times of difficulty and be optimistic about the result. Optimism has been considered as an essential trait required to lead a successful and smooth life. And it’s good, to be optimistic in the face of everything that makes you feel vulnerable. But how optimistic should you be? Should there be a limit to your optimism?
Too much of anything will harm you. This applies to optimism as well. If you’re head over heels optimistic, there’s a big chance that you might stumble and fall on your face. People who play the "everything-will-be-terrific" game not only overlook real problems and issues that need to be addressed, but they prevent others from expressing grief, pain, anger, loneliness, or fears. It is difficult if not impossible to air your true feelings in the presence of one of these ever-positive thinkers. They often make others feel guilty for harboring bad feelings.
Realistic optimists do not talk about how wonderful things are, how terrific everything will turn out, when faced with genuinely bad or unfortunate events. Those who believe if you smile in the face of tragedies, if you keep on chanting that everything will turn out wonderfully, often end up with even bigger problems. There is a thin line between Rational Optimism and False Optimism.
The difference between false optimism and rational optimism can be captured by two different statements.
( 1 ) "There's nothing to be concerned about, everything will be just grand." That's false optimism.
The second statement reflects realistic optimism: (2) "We've got a real mess on our hands, things don't look too good, but if we tackle it step by step, we can probably do something about it."
Positive thinking is good. It will surely help you a lot in life if you know how and when to use it effectively. Refrain from having unconditional false optimism because that will only help you dig a hole for yourself.
By Piyush Barskar