Optimism and Pessimism

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Farooq Raza Qadri

“Whatever you can do with unhappiness you can do better when you’re happy” (Neil 2006). Generally speaking people can be categorized as being generally optimistic or pessimistic. Optimistic people are noted for their ability to see the good in everything, viewing the world as place full of adventure and opportunity. Pessimistic people, on the other hand, meet life with a sense of futility, viewing the world with a certain level of cynicism and negativity. We can see that today’s world is like everyone is in pain. Why the world is facing too much trouble these days? Why this chaos? Why this panic situation every where in the world today? These are the questions everybody is being asking today. The answer to these questions is that we are all thinking pessimism more than optimism. By saying that I’m not quoting that there are no problems but it is a true that most of today’s mass of the world is always thinking negative especially in our country Pakistan or more specifically most of the people of the world are pessimists in my view. According to this quote that “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties” (Harry Truman), most of the people now a days are pessimists because they take everything in negative sense you can see many examples of this in our daily life like when you talk about anything they respond you in a negative manner either its about country’s political situation, or economic situation or anything else. I accept that are problems in Pakistan but we should see the better side to even it is a bit little. There are some good things happening in some sectors of our country like our media is improving day by day, we are growing in information technology as compare to 20 to 30 years back, our education rate is not very good but it is better than past some decades. I mean crisis arise all over the world like political crisis, economic crisis but educated and developed nations face those crisis and come out successfully and I’m sure that Pakistan will come out of these crisis too (INSHALLAH). We can check ourselves with the help of chart below that either most of the people are optimist or pessimists.

Optimistic vs. Pessimistic Thinking 

Optimistic Thinking

Pessimistic Thinking

open to change. take risks.
willingness to make the effort.

‘I can do it’
‘I will try my best’

Control: take responsibility for their actions. proactive.

‘I have choices and options’
‘If I make a mistake I will do whatever it takes to correct it’

Commitment: tendency to persist.

‘I will keep trying until it works’
‘I will make it happen’

tendency to take the blame for everything.  freeze. 

‘Its my fault’ 
‘I am bad’  or ‘I am wrong’

Pervasive: tendency to over-generalize. feel overwhelmed.

‘Everything I do is wrong’ 
‘I can do nothing right’ 
‘I always make a mess of things’

Permanent: tendency to exaggerate. 

‘It will always be this way’
‘Nothing I do will make it change’
‘It is always a mess’

On the other hand our religion Islam also not in favour of pessimism. According to Islam a true Muslim is always seeking blessings of ALLAH without being a pessimist. So generally speaking it can be said that a Muslim is an optimist. Now evaluate ourselves how much true Muslims we are??????

It’s true that there are many problems but the thing I’m trying to convey is that either we can face these problems with great courage or otherwise. It is well said that “when the going gets tough then the tough gets going”. It is more worthy to be an optimistic who occasionally engages in pessimistic thinking than a pessimist who occasionally engages in optimistic thinking. Studies proved that optimist nations enjoy better health and age. A Harvard study that followed the lives of 99 students from the age of 25 found that those who were initially classified as optimists at that young age were significantly healthier at the ages of 45 and 60. Research conducted on cancer patients has shown that those who are optimists have healthier outcomes than those who are pessimists. When there are problems every where and if we turned into pessimist mode then it’ll be very hard to cope with those problems. An optimist recover faster from a setback than a pessimist which lesser the tension for optimist. If you always see the brighter side of things, you may feel that you experience more positive events in your life than others, find yourself less stressed, and even enjoy greater health benefits. “Maintaining a hopeful, positive, yet real perspective in the face of adversity can be a real challenge – one many are facing right now in the world – but it is essential to living peacefully and happily. Just as it is important to recognize what is unjust and unfair in our lives and the world, it is equally important to see the beauty, love, generosity, and goodness as well. Being gentle and loving with ourselves when we make mistakes, or when bad things happen is key to being hopeful and optimistic. And even if you’re not sure it’s possible, you can do it!” (Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, 2001).

Concluding this I would like to say that we should not and we can’t ignore the reality because pessimism is in the human nature but even try to be optimists because optimism pays more than pessimism in my view.

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Source by Farooq Zeeshan Raza

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