Defensive Pessimism

Defensive Pessimism
  • While normally pessimism means blaming yourself for the negative outcomes, defensive pessimism takes this at a whole new level, harnessing the negative feeling and using it as a stepping stone towards eventual success. It makes use of the negative inclination and brings unexpected rewards.
  • It is also used as a strategy by people who want to manage their anxiety and steer away from the imagined negative outcomes.
  • Defensive pessimism lends people a strangely high level of confidence and self-esteem. Their success in the anticipation and avoidance of the negative outcomes make them steer through life in a better way, especially in the formative school and college years.

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Self Improvement

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Having a defensively pessimistic strategy can help one chart out a course of action to ensure that the mishaps that are envisioned do not turn into reality.

Example: Having a low expectation of an interview, along with brooding about what all could go wrong can help one practice harder and plan to avoid those outcomes.

While waiting for a piece of important news, being pessimistic has better health benefits than being overly optimistic.

If the news is not in one’s favour, the optimists take a bigger hit on their wellbeing, experiencing great disappointment, while the pessimists do not suffer as much, as they were already ready to take the hit.

While anticipating and taking preventive action towards an infectious disease, or taking the necessary steps to get better, the coping strategy of a defensive pessimist far surpasses an optimist.

The pessimist is able to steer through the problem by anticipating future pitfalls and taking the required action, while an optimist might ignore or overlook the same.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • Research found that defensive pessimists will do best when they can think through possible negative outcomes.
  • Strategic optimists will do best when they avoid thinking about possible negative outcomes.

Pessimism can have positive effects. If you are an anxious person, try both strategies and see what works best for you.

5

IDEAS

To get the best out of a positive and negative mindset, visualize the best possible outcome while planning for the worst-case scenario. 

Pessimism, or having a bias towards a negative outcome, has a fan base too, as it seems that pessimists are immune to disappointment.

Their view of life already considers the worst possible outcome as the default one, and anything better than that can only improve it.

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