Positive self deception or Optimism


Came across a research paper published in 1998 on human psychology.
Key point : Positive self deception is a normal and advantageous part of most people's psyche.
Also included in the research paper were the following points -

People lie to themselves about 3 things:

  1. They view themselves in implausibly positive ways.
  2. They think they have far more control than they actually do.
  3. They believe the future will be better than what the evidence of present justifies.

Does this mean that optimism is actually a form of  self-deception? If yes, then is the same valid for pessimism.

Let's look at this from a different vantage point.

People lie to themselves about 3 things:
  1. They view themselves in implausibly negative ways.
  2. They think they have far more control than they actually do. But hardly act upon their belief. This lack of action is the cause of their negative attitude & eventually failure.  
  3. They believe the future will be worse than what the evidence of present and past justifies. They underestimate how difficult it is to survive on this planet & misunderstand their privileged position.

Reminds me of an Akbar-Birbal anecdote:
One day Akbar asked Birbal - Give me something that makes me sad when i'm happy and happy when i'm sad.
Birbal thought for a while then scribbled something on a piece of paper.
When Akbar saw it he burst in laughter. He then shared it with the court.
The scribbling quite simply said , " यह दिन हमेशा नहीं रहेंगे " (These days will never remain the same)


Glass half full or half empty conundrum might just be an illusion. Maybe the Glass is just the way it is. Drink if you are thirsty, else splash some water on your face, cool down & move on.

update: this post describes the above conundrum & several other bugs in our software brilliantly

Comments

rose said…
:: really nice blog...

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