Optimism vs. and/or Pessimism

1. a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
2. the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.
3. the belief that goodness pervades reality.
4. the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds.

1. the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.
2. the doctrine that the existing world is the worst of all possible worlds, or that all things naturally tend to evil.
3. the belief that the evil and pain in the world are not compensated for by goodness and happiness.

After some research and good old fashioned introspection, I’ve determined I’m both. Firmly. And neither. At least not wholly. 

As with most things, there is a great tension at play that shapes my work and interaction with people. These are the environments where I spend most of my time, and as such they’re the proving ground for which side of world view I’m operating from. It’s a tricky line to walk—much of optimism in the above definitions seems overly naive and downright delusional to me, but I also don’t want to be known as the guy who only sees and comments on the worst the world has to offer. I’m looking for some middle ground here.

I think that balance as a general principle is a waste of time. To balance you have to be completely aware of the two extremes, the ‘weight’ of each, and of the absolute center on any issue. I find continuously that I am just not that smart.

Trying to find balance between optimism and pessimism is a seemingly attainable goal (given that we have two rigidly defined extremes), but it still feels like a waste of mental energy, energy that could be better spent on greater things. In the moment, I want to be more concerned with what I need to perceive about a situation in order to accomplish a task or finish a project. If that requires adopting a stance that others might label pessimistic, I need to be OK with that, even if that perception isn’t in keeping with what I see my world view as.

I’m guessing this will all be more difficult that I imagine.