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-   -   People who are relentlessly optimistic - how do they do it? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=876060)

Velocity 05-24-2019 12:10 PM

People who are relentlessly optimistic - how do they do it?
 
Chalk it up to my cynical, negative nature, but I am baffled by people who will cheerily predict a championship for their team year in and year out despite their team consistently turning in woeful years, or those who are convinced their party will win the election in a landslide (despite losing repeatedly) - and the response of these people to disappointment is always just "rinse and repeat." They promptly pick right up and carry on with the same unrealistic optimism as if those dozens or hundreds of prior disappointments never happened.

How do they........do it? I cannot imagine being exposed to repeated disappointment week in and week out, or year in and year out, and not having some sort of hardened shell to guard my feelings and expectations as a result.

DrFidelius 05-24-2019 12:23 PM

That's not optimism, that is wishful thinking.

Optimism is tending your garden in this, the best of all possible worlds. You take personal responsibility for your happiness.

Thudlow Boink 05-24-2019 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrFidelius (Post 21660811)
That's not optimism, that is wishful thinking.

In my experience, the optimism/pessimism distinction is used in (at least) two very different ways: (1) expecting the best/worst, and (2) focusing on the good/bad in your present situation.

Whatever you call it, the OP is asking about the former. And I don't know the answer, but I suspect it's the same sort of phenomenon as why people get addicted to things like gambling, where they keep expecting a big payoff.

Darren Garrison 05-24-2019 12:43 PM

IMO, they do it the same way people manage to be relentlessly tall, relentlessly blue-eyed, or relentlessly able to roll their tongues--they are born with that inclination. Choosing to change your base temperament is about as likely to have success as really, really trying for your eyes to be a different color.

QuickSilver 05-24-2019 12:54 PM

I suspect the OP is talking about those incurably positive, exhaustingly chipper, never a negative thought expressed, happy-go-lucky, glass half-full, isn't it a great day to be alive, turn that frown upside down, can I lend you a smile, fucks.

I consider them to be suffering from severe mental illness.

cmkeller 05-24-2019 12:56 PM

I'm one of those. My attitude is, there's always time to be upset AFTER the bad outcome happens. Why spend time being upset when there's only the POSSIBILITY of a bad outcome? Life's too short to spend extra time in a bad mood.

Inigo Montoya 05-24-2019 02:17 PM

My Missus is one of those positive types. Expects the best of herself and others, but can deal instantly and decisively with disappointment. The disappointment is then either corrected or redirected to something constructive. I am certain the mindset is hardwired. There is simply no other way for her to deal with adversity. She sees beauty everywhere, she sees humor everywhere, she has compassion even for terrible people, she sees the potential in everything. Not Nice Things have happened in her past that other people might define themselves by, or use as an excuse to not be excellent. She pulled the lessons from those events and carried on with her journey.

I could go on but...she seems to have, like, the opposite of PTSD.

Jasmine 05-24-2019 02:23 PM

I don't know how they do it, but I find them annoying. I'm a fan of optimism, but there's a point where you cross the line and enter "naive fool" territory.

pulykamell 05-24-2019 02:28 PM

I've been a Cubs fan all my life. OK, the last few years have been good to us, but it's been years and years of disappointment over and over, with a long history of disappointment that dated from far before I or my father or grandfather were born. Being a Cubs fan taught me a great life lesson. No matter how shitty the season looks, enjoy the party. And I'm not really being that facetious. I do think the heartbreak of the 1984 NL championship as a 9-year-old really did instill a sense of "sometimes it doesn't work out, but it's been a fun ride, enjoy it, and, hey, there's (usually) next year!"

Gatopescado 05-24-2019 02:56 PM

I've noticed overly optimistic people are often quite stupid.

Just Asking Questions 05-24-2019 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gatopescado (Post 21661065)
I've noticed overly optimistic people are often quite stupid.

I've noticed that some people that generalize are often quite stupid.

JAQ, optimist

SpoilerVirgin 05-24-2019 03:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 21660848)
Choosing to change your base temperament is about as likely to have success as really, really trying for your eyes to be a different color.

I disagree. Martin Seligman's book Learned Optimism was a game changer for me.

I'm not saying that I'm the type of relentless optimist that the OP mentions, but I have absolutely changed the way my mind works. I was just thinking about this the other day. There was a change in our work situation, and everyone was grumbling about how the sky was falling, and I was pointing out the potential positive results. I wasn't even trying to counter their attitudes; I was just genuinely looking at the positive side. After a lifetime of anxiety and seeing disaster around every corner, it really is new mindset for me.

swampspruce 05-24-2019 04:58 PM

Equal parts gambling addiction and sunken cost fallacy wrt to sports teams? I'm normally optimistic and part of the reason why is because it drives pessimists crazy. Plus, with that vacant smile on my face, why, I could be capable of anything. ANYthing. :D

Gatopescado 05-24-2019 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions (Post 21661119)
I've noticed that some people that generalize are often quite stupid.

JAQ, optimist

Well, Bless Your Heart!


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