Defensive Pessimism: Part Of The Real Secret

The Office Pessimists May Not Be Lovable, But Are Often Right

But pessimists aren’t given the benefit of their doubts. Research shows that relative pessimists are more accurate at gauging success and failure rates at a simple laboratory task than optimists, who undercounted failures and overcounted successes, says Edward Chang, associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. Also, evidence shows that pessimism can be highly motivational, as what’s called “defensive pessimism” drives people to achieve their goals.

Arguably, adds Prof. Chang, investment banks suffering from the subprime-lending crisis were too optimistic while Goldman Sachs, which plotted out disaster scenarios, has thrived. “Optimism associated with inaction is useless,” he says. “But pessimism associated with movement, motivation and energy is exactly what people are talking about in terms of the best of optimism.”

– from Matt St. Amand

Some day I will have the opportunity to reveal the true “secrets” of success. None of which is contained in drivel such as The Secret.

Let me just say here that what is called “defensive pessimism” is a trait of very successful people. Names you would recognize.

Let me add this for myself (as my blood pressure rises recalling the eejits I had to labor under): there is optimism — a hopeful belief in the future — and there is psychotic idiocy, which refuses to acknowledge, for example, that the “unsinkable” Titanic is in fact doomed. It’s been my grief in life to encounter the latter again and again.

Psychotic Optimists Smile A Lot

And, oh yes, they’ve gotten promotions. While the intelligent staffs beneath them contemplated suicide.

Aftermath Of Psychotic Optimist Leadership

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