The Power of Pessimism

Many people believe positivity in thinking and attitude are needed for healing. In several blog posts I wrote about what I call the twin tyrannies of positive thinking and good attitude. When I posted those opinions I didn’t have any evidence to back me up. So, I was excited to read in Originals, by Adam Grant, the value of defensive pessimism as a life skill.

The twin tyrannies posts expressed my discomfort with being told how I was supposed to think or feel about cancer and survival. After all, life’s problems bring a whole roller-coaster of thinking and attitudes, all of which are appropriate at different times and days.


Eureka, there it was. Research in support of my belief that positive thinking and good attitude will get you only so far. I’m happy to share this news with you.
Turns out that pessimists also do very well if they see the risks and prepare themselves to meet those risks. If they think strategically, the pessimists build capacity to overcome obstacles, and create resilience.
Time to turn the twin tyrannies into something less oppressive to those who have problems. How about strategic thinking and defensive attitude?
Go forth and be negative if that’s how you feel at the moment. Add defensive (as in thinking through the bad things that might happen to plan how to overcome them) and strategic and you should do well.
Here’s the URL to take your measure of the Original’s action planimg_4057

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