Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Power of Optimism

Several years back psychologists began making happiness their treatment goal. It was a step forward. Therapy, or any treatment that seeks to help people with their psychological issues, does better when it leaves the concept of cure to the physicians.

Positive psychology bred an interest in optimism, to the point where some people started treating it as a panacea. As was to be expected, this produced a reaction. Recently, author Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a book that wanted to make a last stand for pessimism.

I wrote two posts on this topic, linked here and here, so I will not expound any further on my own views.

I will, however, link to a recent paper by two professors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Their research shows that when people are more optimistic they do better at planning for the future. Optimism promotes and facilitates "big picture" thinking.

Pessimists are more focused on imminent danger and expend too much of their energy avoiding it. Those of who have a background in psychology will see that pessimism is the normally expected reaction to trauma.

I am happy to link this paper, especially because results are congruent with my views. Link here.

1 comment:

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