- Jun 5, 2022
For a long time, I judged myself a pessimist, although I never really researched the definitions of "optimistic" and "pessimistic". Often, we are influenced by the value judgment of society, and then produce a sense of our own judgment, this idea is constantly reinforced into self-knowledge. Later, this self-judgment gradually changes to neutral, that is, to return to the normal state. Later, I learned about a branch of psychology called positive psychology.
Starting with pessimism, why did humans evolve to be pessimistic? This kind of negative emotion should have been eliminated to make all humanity happy every day, right? The author suggests that moderate pessimism can lead to a more accurate view of the world around you and a more alert to possible dangers. So, this ability to possibly foresee disaster continues.
So what is the fundamental difference between optimism and pessimism? Technically, it means having a different view of something, which means having a different mode of thinking about it. Psychology over the past few decades, from healing to helping people, has suggested that people can choose their own thinking patterns.
An important concept the author gives is interpretive style, which is basically a habitual explanation of why something happens. For example, if you didn't get up early to exercise today, you might think, "I'm such a lazy person." You might think, "It's a bad day, so I might as well get more sleep." This habitual interpretation leads to different behaviors in how we deal with problems, which in turn leads to optimistic or pessimistic effects.
Interpretive style has three dimensions -- permanence, universality and personification. In other words, explain the problem where to focus. For example, if you don't do well in an exam, if you think the question is too difficult, it is temporary; If you think your learning ability is not enough, you are anthropomorphized. These dimensions can measure optimism or pessimism.
There are two ways to change a pessimistic explanatory style: diversion and refutation, which is more effective in the long run. There are four ways to refute: evidence, other possibilities, implication, and usefulness. The counterargument, as I understand it, is to argue with yourself and find the bad side of your explanatory style.
In the book, the author describes numerous experiments, optimistic or pessimistic, that can have an impact on business, parenting, sports, elections and more. What interests me most is the prediction and analysis of the results of NBA teams, because it is common to see players and coaches in postgame interviews, they will give their opinions on the reasons for winning or losing. By analyzing a large number of interviews, the authors summarize their explanatory style, give a team's optimistic/pessimistic score, predict their ability to withstand pressure, make up for technical disadvantages, and achieve more victories.
The same is true for children in the classroom. Whether children are optimistic or not is closely related to their grades. By the age of eight, the optimistic or pessimistic interpretation style is largely established. Factors include the parents' cause-and-effect analysis of the event, the way criticism is heard and the dramatic changes in early life experiences. In this part, the author also has a book called "Teaching Optimistic Children". Optimism has a great impact on children's future life. We will discuss it after reading this book.