Image: The Power of Pessimism
Whether or not you like Donald Trump, or think that yesterday’s denuclearization pact is going to change anything, you have to admit one thing.
Donald Trump is doing a lot of stuff that everyone thought was impossible.
Whether it’s Korea or moving the Embassy to Jerusalem, or the economy, things are happening that the media and the so-called “experts” confidently declared were not going to happen.
And in all the madness, it’s revealing something.
Something psychological at work in society…
What you can see from the reactions to these successes is that there are a lot of people out there who are pessimists, and they don’t even know it.
And pessimists can’t solve problems.
You can see it in the news headlines today. Even though Trump has achieved a lot more than any of his predecessors, the media is going nuts with negativity.
Check out this article in the (very conservative) National Review. From the tone of the article, you would think that Donald Trump had just traded the US nuclear arsenal for a handful of magic beans.
I get the impression that even if Kim Jong Un jumped onto his knees in front of the cameras and said “Please Mr Trump I want peace and I will give you anything you want”, this guy would still try and spin any agreement as a failure.
It’s almost as if, deep down inside, he is terrified of success.
When people are terrified of success, they self-sabotage themselves anytime they get close to it.
I have seen this dynamic play out over and over with students.
They begin to get success, and suddenly the voice of anxiety grabs a hold of them and they bail.
Chances are you know that voice… it sounds like this:
When you want to talk to her, it says “She’s busy”.
When you start the conversation, it says “This is weird”.
When she laughs at your joke, it says “She just thinks you’re a clown”.
When she starts opening up and talking about her life, it says “This is getting boring”.
When you want to ask for her number, it says “You’re not ready”.
When she gives you her number, it says “She’s just being nice”.
That voice is the voice of anxiety, the voice of pessimism. It’s a voice that wants to keep you safe, but it can smother you.
And what’s worse, listening to that voice makes it impossible to solve problems.
Every time you get closer to a solution, you hear the voice, feel afraid, and back off.
And so you never really try, never learn, and never have a chance at success.
You also never engage your problem-solving abilities (the God-given abilities that make humans unique).
Optimism on the other hand – presuming that every problem has a solution and every step towards a solution is worthwhile, is incredibly empowering.
Not only does this break you out of your comfort zone, it challenges you, and it activates your problem solving abilities (which have an incredible ability to find solutions to things that seemed impossible).
It opens up new possibilities in your life. It makes you happier.
Most importantly though – optimism is necessary to take the kind of action that results in real change in your life.