PART 1: No Place for Old Pessimists

(Part 1 of a post on negativity and how this new season, new heart, has allowed me to follow a different approach to the things I hope for.)
This is how I typically watch a Bafana Bafana game even when our heroes are five goals up (I know, I know, when was the last time that was the case with the national soccer team?):

I sit on the edge of the seat anticipating all that could go wrong to cause us to lose the game. It’s a silly “think-negatively-if-you-want-a-positive-result” approach and it flies in the face of all the “positive energy” encouragements we get pitched every day.

The optimistic approach to life has been well-settled in research – we are better people and we achieve better outcomes when we have a good attitude, rather than a down-in-the-mouth approach.

But philosophy and social discourse show the “don’t jinx us” approach has been evident in society over the centuries in various guises. Unsurprisingly, organised religion especially the Christian church offers us many examples of miserable sods who needed to adopt a different approach to anticipating the unfolding future of their worlds.

It doesn’t mean I am not a positive person – flip, I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy and can get high on very little – but the odds over 50 years have shown (unscientifically, I grant you) that my personal successes have come when and where I haven’t been too wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, not anticipated too much of a positive outcome, not jinxed my hopes, dreams and ambitions by “predicting” an outcome.

Just followed a more sedate, less flamboyant path to pursuing the objective.

It can be a pretty miserable, uninspiring approach to life, especially if you’re part of a soccer pool that’s rooting for a particular outcome, or you must summon your resources to support a loved one pursuing their life’s vision and all you want to do is caution against getting too excited. It operates in politics too, as we say publicly the crooks in government who rape and steal our democracy daily will be in power forever and a day. Of course, mostly, we’re subconsciously and silently hoping (and even working, to the extent we might in each particular personal situation) for a different outcome.

But I am finally allowing myself – perhaps being forced to – change my way of viewing the world, realistically and with the perspective only I have, based on available knowledge. It really is an exciting than no to learn – I just didn’t have to be so stupid to wait so long for this lesson. (See PART 2 to this post next)

PART 1: No Place for Old Pessimists
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