Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Optimism and Pessimism for Planning

A pessimist is a person who expects the worst  and that things are bad, and tend to become worse. There is an advantage to being a pessimist. If things go wrong then they were right. If it does go right then it was luck. As plans tend to never work out exactly and new ventures tend to fail 95% of the time; so the odds are in their favor. They have ample ammunition for their thinking and will rarely take on new challenging goals.

An optimist is a person who is disposed to take a favorable view of things. The advantage to an optimist of this attitude is believing that given time, things will work out in the end. They will take on new and challenging goals without full consideration of the risks involved. They will pay little attention as to why it failed and will tend to repeat their errors.

We need a balance between the two viewpoints when looking at our lives. We need to tread the middle way and use both mindsets in formulating our plans. Start with an optimistic plan then look at with pessimist 's viewpoint to find flaws and holes. Test and research to repair the plan.

Remember that plans are maps only and we will encounter unanticipated events that will require flexibility as we progress to our targets. This approach would more likely produce a valid plan of action.

 

12 conversations:

Comedy + said...

Excellent Peter. I have always been careful about NOT hanging around with too many pessimist. They tend to wear you out with their negative thoughts. I have never thought about being in the middle of the road either. This makes perfect sense!

On a side note. Always borrow money from a pessimist because they don't expect it back. See you tomorrow my friend. :)

Peter Haslam said...

I should have picked a different banker. He keeps expecting me to pay :). Thanks Sandee for your comment

Ed said...

I have a tendency towards optimism and believe that time sorts out most issues - as long as you keep working towards a solution of course.

As for pessimism, I think seeing obstacles ahead of time and overcoming them is a healthy approach for eternal optimists.

A great saying is Name your limitations and they are yours!

btw is there an end in sight to your posts, you never do a bad or weak one. And I am not being sarcastic for once, honest.

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you Ed for your compliment it is much appreciated. No end in sight especially with the conversations going on. :)

Maile said...

I find this concept of balance between the viewpoints intriguing.

It's a different approach than the one I've been striving for, which is based on the Zen concept of the don't-know mind, though I think the two could pair well, as in:

Start with a don't-know plan, then look back with an optimist's mind AND a pessimists mind to gain insight for future events. I'll have to try it and see what happens...

Comedy + said...

Have a great weekend Peter. We are off for a cruising weekend with our yacht club... See you Sunday sometime.

Peter Haslam said...

Maile it is all about balance and using one of our greatest tools; our mind. Any approach that you use that uses different perspectives like yours just increases the possibility of arriving at the destination.

Peter Haslam said...

See you Monday Sandee. Have a great cruise.

Cynthia Blue said...

I'm a pessimist, I'll admit it. :) If you've read Learned Optimism, the author states that pessimists are actually more accurate about reality than optimists are. Interesting tidbit of knowledge. :) Though I'd rather be an optimist and wrong most of the time. LOL.

Peter Haslam said...

Cynthia Blue you are right as long as it doesn't stop you from advancing. Considering both aspects simply improves chances of succeeding.

Bobby Revell said...

You could call the newly acquired state of mind the "pessoptomistic
equilibrium"! Actually it is very interesting to think in this way. Something to think about when starting a new project or when trying to maintain a level of interest in an old one.

Peter Haslam said...

Thanks for your comment Bobby