Optimism is often seen as a positive mindset, although several writers have satirized it, such as Voltaire in “Candide.” I chose this word, because I am an optimistic person myself, although I understand that too much of optimism can also produce negative consequences, such as naiveté and losing foresight. Nevertheless, I believe that it is better to pursue optimism than pessimism, especially when dealing with forces that people cannot control. This essay explores the definition of optimism. Optimism refers to a philosophy that everything will happen for the best soon or that the best is already what people have, but without critical thinking skills, it can lead to gullibility, lack of foresight, and decrease motivation.
Optimism is a philosophy or belief when it is the dominant mindset of a person in seeing the world and his/her experiences. For example, whatever bad happens to Jim, he believes that it could have been worse or that it happens for a reason. Optimism also rejects negative thinking. When asked if the glass is half-empty, an optimist will say that it is half-full. When asked why God will allow evil if He exists, an optimist will argue that God has a reason for allowing evil to co-exist with goodness. Moreover, optimism is consistent. People can go through different bad experiences that can give them grief or anger, but after letting go of their emotions, they control themselves and focus on being positive. They allow themselves to feel misery or sadness, but like Confucius, they will not allow themselves to sink into its depression.
Optimism, like any belief, can go overboard and lead to gullibility, lack of foresight, and poor motivation. An optimist person may be too naïve that she will be a victim of liars and cheats. This person may be a psychological punching bag too. Furthermore, optimism can push people to no longer think and plan critically. After all, they believe that the best will come or the best has come. This thinking removes the need for preparing for the future. There is a saying that it is alright to believe that God will protect one’s belongings, but it is better to reinforce security measures. Finally, though optimism can drive people to pursue their goals, some people might use optimism to remain in the status quo. They are not motivated to change themselves or their circumstances or both, since they consider it as the best of the worlds possible (“Optimism”). Thus, optimism should not dominate other sensible attitudes or behaviors, such as critical thinking, or else it will not lead to the best world for the optimists.
Optimism engages the human spirit to believe in the best. It can push the mind and heart to have a vision of the best possible worlds and work consistently toward it. People should not allow optimism, nonetheless, to lead to gullibility and lack of foresight and motivation. Critical thinking and optimism can be integrated to produce the best world for any person.
“Optimism.” By Garth Kemerling. Philosophy Pages. 12 Sept. 2011. Web.