"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit" - Helen Keller
A friend of mine posted this on Facebook today and it made me think. I've always preferred to be an optimist - I find that life is better that way. There is enough unhappiness in the world without creating more for yourself by imagining the worst.
I know the counter argument is about not building up your hopes to have them dashed, and being constantly disappointed when life doesn't turn out as you want. But on balance I'll take the downs when they happen rather than worry about them over much in advance.
I'm not unrealistic about life. I know there are times when life won't be all sunshine and roses. I know bad things happen. I know shit happens. But as I've said in a previous post, I'd rather hope for dolphins than settle for waves.
But I'd never thought about the need for optimism in moving forward. Often it takes the leap of faith, the belief that something will work and the hope that there is a solution that moves us forward. Helen Keller hits the nail on the head - success comes in cans, not can'ts. Giving in and admitting defeat without trying to find a solution achieves nothing. Not trying at all is the most likely way not to succeed, and even if you get a bit bashed around the edges on the way through, at least the chances of getting somewhere is vastly increased.
Unbridled optimism without the balance of realism is dangerous. But unmoderated pessimism is just, well, depressing!