Happy Life Needs Optimism: On "is Optimism Rational? "

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Cade Massey’s “Is Optimism Rational?”(Qn, Q6 Fall 2009, A Publication of Yale School of Management) is really a very good article.

Obviously, the answer to the title is YES! 

And, by our very common sense,  the answers to these two questions in the summary of the article are also YES and basically YES respectively as follows:

1.  “Is optimism good for us?”

Yes. It is. Apparently, it is one of our instincts or our ancestors’ successful experiences saved on DNA. This experience is still valid today. (Re #3)

2.  “Do we adjust our sunny expectations based on our experiences?”

Yes, but very, very slowly, because sunny expectations or optimism here is an instinct. And an instinct can not be changed easily in a short time of one’s life. It can only be changed into a pre-instinct in one’s life but can not be easily encoded into someone’s DNA in such a period of time in evolution scale.  (Re #1)

Therefore, optimism must be rational.


Obviously our ancestors experienced that to be optimistic is good for mobilization of all the physiological and psychological functions of our body to live in the best possible state. This kind of experiences was saved on DNA 10,000 years ago in order to propagate offspring or keep DNA alive. Therefore, here is the instinct of optimism we have today. (Re #1-4)

Valid Scope

Since optimism is in favor of the mobilization of all the functions of our body, the valid or effective scope of optimism must be limited to where our body is able to control over to some extent at least.  

For examples: a warrior with optimism will triumph easier, a business man with optimism will make money easier, a person will be health, a student will get high grades…


If optimism means the mobilization of the physiological and psychological functions of our body, all things that are uncontrollable by our body functions will fall in the invalid scope of the optimistic effect.

Such as one is optimistic about a football game for his or her favorite team without being a player or a member of cheering squad… 


Optimism is rational and actually indispensable to human life.

References:  #1. W. Ying,, “Happy Life, Instincts, Wisdom, and Human Computer System.”  #2. ibid, “Valid Happiness, Instinct and Wisdom.”  #3. ibid, ” Need-Led Evolution in Biology: The Corner Stone of 10,000-Years-Ago Norm.”  #4. ibid, “Happy Life, Depression and Suicide Are Managed by Instinct plus Wisdom.”    

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Source by W. Ying

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