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Posts Tagged ‘defensive pessimism

How deep is your positive thinking?

So you’ve resolved to live happily ever after?  And your friends and colleagues are mocking your for your new found happy ways?

The big test

Here is the big test for your commitment to happiness.

Imagine yourself in the most horrible circumstances

Write a short novel with you as the main character.  And write the worst things that can happen to you. Not the most horrible things in other people’s minds but the most horrible in yours.

Think of things that are so bad that your heart races and you feel as if you could pass out.

Now write yourself out of those situations.

When you can describe the worst and write a story that takes you out of those places, then you understand your hopes and values. Then you are truly thinking positively.

My first try

I am going to try this over a cup of coffee.  And you know what?  I know the first hurdle.  I know I don’t want to write myself out of a bad situation because then it is obvious I could get out of it!  And when I define the situation as bad, I don’t want it to suddenly be quite manageable (if disgusting and terrifying).  I wonder if I will ever manage this!

Tell me about your first try?

 

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If you came here saying “Yes!”, you probably also sat up straighter, jutted out your jaw just a little, and felt more determined.

We need one defensive pessimist on every team

You are probably what psychologists call a ‘defensive pessimist’.  You are essential to business and family life.  You think ahead and make sure things get done!

But do you really dare not to be happy?

What if I told you that happiness lights up different parts of your brain?  And in your steely resolve, you are shutting down processing power that you need, badly?

In short, you are running, well limping, like a computer that needs to be cleaned out sooner rather than later.

An organized person finds time to be happy

If you really are as organized and determined as you say, then you WILL find 5 minutes at night for some quiet time to reflect on the day.  You will have time to tick off everything that went well and you will have time to ask yourself a simple question: Why did I do so well?

So often, you’ve done well because you think ahead, because you are reliable and because you are persistent.  Carry on doing that!

Be organized.  We need you.  And be happy too.

Ask “Why did I do so well?” and marvel at how much better you sleep, how much you begin to enjoy hearing the birds sing, how much your appetite levels off (not too big or too small), how much you don’t have to push so hard but you get things done anyway.

You don’t believe me?

I thought you were the thoughtful one!  You can’t tell me I am wrong until you have tried.

LOGO2.0 part I
Image by Stabilo Boss via Flickr

20 questions: which do you agree with?

  1. The internet allows me to reach out and meet people I would never otherwise meet.
  2. The internet allows me to find what I want and organize it the way I like it.
  3. I love the way I have internet friends all over the world.
  4. I am amazed by the diversity of opinion that I encounter on the net.
  5. The beauty of the web is that I can hear the opinions of less powerful people before we make a decision.
  6. We can make our voices heard on the internet.
  7. It’s great the way that so much on the internet is free.
  8. I love the way people reward each other with gifts on the internet.
  9. It’s incredible the way we put together Wikipedia by donating whatever knowledge we each had.
  10. I love the way that my little contribution makes something bigger like Flickr work.
  11. It terrible the way people only talk to their own friends on the net.
  12. The information on the internet is so disjointed.
  13. I fear that people on the internet follow their own interests and disregard the views of others.
  14. I get so tired of the same opinions being voiced over and over again.
  15. It’s too easy on the internet to manipulate the opinions of vulnerable people
  16. It is too easy to bully someone on the internet.
  17. Valuable industries like newspapers will die because of the internet.
  18. If we don’t have property rights, then there will be no reason to compose good music or write good books.
  19. Wikipedia will drop to the “lowest common denominator”.
  20. At the end of the day, great works are accomplished by talented people who have worked hard and practiced long.

Are you an internet optimist or internet pessimist?

Scoring. The top 10 questions describe internet optimists and the bottom 10 describe internet pessimists.

The original list, in much more academic language, was written by Adam Thierer He is looking for a publisher, btw.

Your score? Are you an optimist or pessimist about life with the internet?

With my psychologist’s hat on

I ask:

  • What are the defensive positions that we want covered by the pessimists?
  • And would we trust them, anyway, to cover the weak spots?

It’s funny how the difference between optimists and pessimists is a canyon of trust.

  • How can pessimists lay out an approach to the internet that makes optimists trust them?
  • How can optimists lay out the internet so pessimists can trust it?

Have I got the questions right?

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