Hmm.. checking the Oxford English Dictionary definition of optimism, I found this:
- hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something:
- the doctrine, especially as set forth by Leibniz, that this world is the best of all possible worlds.
- the belief that good must ultimately prevail over evil in the universe.
and this is what it has to say about pessimism:
- a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen:
- a belief that this world is as bad as it could be or that evil will ultimately prevail over good
I always hope for success and a good future, but reality dictates that you can only be confident about succeeding if you have prepared the way first. In order to plan for success, you need to be aware of the possibility of failure, and you have to be able to imagine the worst that might happen and figure out what steps are needed to help you avoid it. If you don’t study for that exam, or practice that move, you’d have to a genius or a natural virtuoso or an idiot savant to be confident of success. Never forget, hope doesn’t pay the rent.
I don’t believe that this world is the best of all possible worlds, nor do I believe that it is as bad as it could be. We have only one world to measure, so how the heck are we supposed to judge one way or the other?
Concepts of good and evil are very subjective, so scratch the good prevailing over evil or vice versa.
So where does that leave me? Neither an optimist nor a pessimist. I grew out of applying labels to myself a very long time ago, so that’s fine by me.