How Optimistic is Your Pessimism?

A photo of a letterboard on a bookshelf that says "you will be okay, you have no choice."
Photo by Kari Shea.

“Optimism is usually defined as a belief that things will go well. But that’s incomplete. Sensible optimism is a belief that the odds are in your favor, and over time things will balance out to a good outcome even if what happens in between is filled with misery. And in fact you know it will be filled with misery. You can be optimistic that the long-term growth trajectory is up and to the right, but equally sure that the road between now and then is filled with landmines, and always will be. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.”
-Morgan Housel

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure about this whole idea of the odds being in our favour, and not just because it reminds me of The Hunger Games. However, I do like the idea of mixing our optimism and pessimism together: things will be okay in the long run, but there will be misery along the way.

Or even, life will be a mix of the glorious and the horrific, both will be real, both will be deep, and both will occasionally be too big to see past. Sometimes we will work very, very hard and it will go somewhere, and other times it will go nowhere.

Sometimes it will feel like life is lifting us above the rubble and setting us down at a brand new high, and other times it will turn out that the rug we are standing on was covering a hole in the floor and we fall straight through.

It's all going to happen. We will be okay. (We will have no choice.)

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