Optimistic or Pessimistic? Both have their advantages!

It’s no secret that the way we view the world around us can shape our own behaviour and even go so far as affect our health. It’s presumed widely that an optimistic view of the world can lead to a healthier and extended life, however an article by Lecia Bushak illustrates that it may not be as black and white as we might have thought.

While there have been studies that indicate that optimistic people are more likely to live longer, this longer healthier life might actually be attributed to the behaviours that optimistic people typically have. Things like having good social networks, being more active and being more likely to seek medical advice and follow it could all be reasons why someone who is classified as being optimistic might live a longer life.

However no one is entirely an optimist or a pessimist, we actually switch between them to take on the perspective that will be most functional in the moment. This is because there are advantages in the two.  If your primary concern is growth and advancement then you will tend to hold an optimistic view, which contrasts with someone who focuses on safety, and preventing negative outcomes who are more likely to be focussed on pessimism and potential downfalls in order to improve performance.

Pessimists are able to handle criticism better and are always looking to identify the holes or mistakes in a line of thinking so that they can become better. This contrasts with optimists who deal much better in situations where persistence even in the face of adversity may take them further than those who only focus on what will fail and stop them from achieving what they want.

So maybe the cup isn’t half full or half empty, but really just whatever suits you at the time?