Optimism vs Pessimism

A wise man once said, “The optimist stays awake through the night of December 31st to see the new year while the pessimist stays awake through the same night to make sure the previous year goes away”.

Defining my stand on these two will be difficult because from my younger days, experiments to give advice to people brought me to the realization that optimism and pessimism is just two different prescriptions of spectacles one could to view the beautiful object called life. Being optimistic or pessimistic did not—and does not—change the order of things.

Experimenting on both showed that disappointments and accomplishments happen. They may follow a pattern for a while, but defining that pattern will require probabilistic proofs and ish like that (I can say that now cos I took probability last semester). But this spawned more curiosity, “could someone sit on the fence – the fine line – between optimistic and pessimistic?”.

Turns out there is a fine line between “optimistic” and “pessimistic”. One can sit—or dwell—on this fine line but it all depends on the mindset with which one approaches the task. If one thinks like the USA and decides “not to take sides”, this never works in finding the fine line. Most times, not-taking-sides means you have already chosen a side but you do not with to proclaim. Fewer times, one really has no point of view on the matter and chooses not to take sides. But as the events cascade and they gain more information about the situation, they choose to be optimistic or pessimistic about it.

How do you dwell on the fine line then? Be both. “How?”, you may ask, “you cannot serve two masters at a time” – this happens to be the normal sentence of defence I hear. Yes you cannot serve two masters at a time but you could serve them intermittently—geeks know this as scheduling context switches. To put it in simple terms, be optimistic for a while and pessimistic for a while. In doing so, be extreme—i.e. extremely optimistic and extremely pessimistic—because half-heartedness will not help.

Over time, when you gain control of your will (or willpower) , you will realize you have been sitting on the fence for the amount of time which you have been practising this.

p.s: I don’t know who said the quote in the first paragraph so I’m attributing it to some wise old man somewhere in a park sitting beside the old lady whose job is to come up with all the English words we have in the dictionary – they make a great couple 🙂

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