In the last few weeks, I’ve oscillated between intense pessimism and optimism. I’ve dealt with these cycles for much of my life, and I have learned the advantages of both over time. Ultimately, I think the goal is to find a state between the two for the most part, but when we are faced with unknowns, it’s natural to be drawn away from center.
With optimism, there is a general sense of ease, peace, and hope. If you expect that everything will work out for the best, you can enjoy your present moment much more. Optimism can free you up to focus on your current tasks without stress or anxiety. With pessimism, you are prepared for the worst case scenario. You know you won’t be blindsided or railroaded.
The downsides of each are, as you would expect, inverse to the advantages of the other. With optimism, as you trust things will work out for the best, you may be unprepared for the worst, caught off guard, and suffer more intensely in an abrupt way; with pessimism, you will likely experience anxiety and stress, which distract you from whatever is going on in the present moment.
What I’ve been experimenting with is taking control of these perspectives, embracing them both. As I’ve oscillated between the two, I feel that, having considered the worst case scenarios and prepared for them, I may then turn to the belief that things will work out for the best so that I don’t stress, and I can focus my positive energy on the tasks that matter to me.
Really, this boils down to the old adage: “Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.” I feel it’s important to let yourself really believe the best will happen, otherwise you can’t surrender the outcome properly.