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Shmuz #117

OPTIMISM

Optimism is one of the most essential ingredients to living a successful life: Without optimism, the world is a bleak, dreary place. “Life stinks, and then you die.” And even if there is some meaning and purpose to existence, the odds of succeeding are very slim. Bad things are far more likely to befall me than good.

By contrast, an optimist looks at the world as a positive place. People and events are inherently good, and everything will work out in the end. They have a cheery outlook on life.

Yet realism demands that we question that outlook. After all, many bad things do happen. Businesses go bankrupt, people get sick, and everyone dies eventually. Doesn’t an optimistic outlook run counter to intelligence? How can a person maintain a sense of optimism when it is often counterintuitive?

This Shmuz deals with the issue of balancing optimism with an objective view of life and provides some practical techniques for adopting a more optimistic viewpoint.

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