The fine line between preparedness and pessimism

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Before we consider this, let’s look at the dictionary definition of pessimism…
“A tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen.”
An article in “Psychology Today” states
The glass is half-empty, and storm clouds loom overhead, never with a silver lining. Pessimists get a lot of flak for their inclination toward negativity and their tendency to expect the worst in most situations. Besides taking a toll on their mental health, their physical health may take a beating, too. Pessimism, while it may be useful in isolation or in moderation, is associated with anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, hostility, high blood pressure, and heart disease”.

We are now talking very differently from the difference between optimists versus pessimists by whether they see the glass half full or half empty! But, just for a moment consider…sometimes, a person just sees things exactly the way they are presented, and that doesn’t necessarily make them a pessimist, it makes them a realist. Is there now a case for preparedness?
Let’s look at three of the benefits of being prepared.

  1. Being prepared enhances our strategic thinking. The more complex the task, the higher degree of strategic thinking is required. Sometimes, we use the expression “I will just wing it” or put another way “fly by the seat of our pants.” No matter at micro or macro level…being prepared and having some strategy around what we are doing takes away the worry…or even the thoughts…what if happens? Surely akin to being a pessimist?
  2. Being prepared gives us flexibility. Having self-discipline helps to expand our thought process, and not the reverse as some might believe. It is highly likely that self-discipline will have covered the “what if” scenarios.
  3. Being prepared can increase our resilience. Resilience is that ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again and after something bad happens. As we develop all our other skills, we often spend little time developing that of resilience. Unless you have done the preparation, thought it through, evaluated all the known scenarios you will always be shocked by the unforeseen or by failure.
Preparedness or pessimism…Is there a fine line…or to spin it another way, perhaps it is the act of being prepared that removes the act of pessimism?
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin.