Optimists and Pessimists

People are always telling me there are two kinds of people. People who fish and people who don’t. (I fish.) People who “get” the “Star Wars” movies and people who don’t. (I definitely don’t.) People who divide the world into two kinds of people, and people who don’t. (I don’t … usually.)

If I did choose to divide the world into two kinds of people, I might start with optimists and pessimists. It’s not so much that the line between them is clear — I find myself in either camp from time to time — as that it says a great deal about attitude, effort and open-mindedness.

Show me someone who has a good attitude, is willing to dedicate meaningful effort to a project and who is open-minded enough to consider a range of options and possibilities, and I’ll show you someone you can work with and who can help you accomplish things.

On the other hand, show me someone who is already defeated, is not willing to expend more effort for a cause and who thinks he’s tried everything already, and I’ll show you someone who will not and cannot make things better.

I’m not saying that the optimist is right and the pessimist is wrong. Too often I believe it’s just the opposite. I’m just saying that optimism offers hope and a brighter future.

Pessimists are correct in their perspective at least as often as optimists — and likely far more often — but they’re less fun to hang around with and decidedly less likely to take you fishing.

Anglers are usually a pretty optimistic group. Who else throws a 1/4-ounce chartreuse spinnerbait past 999 stumps without a bite but still tenses for the strike on the 1,000th cast?

Now, that’s optimism … or some kind of learning disorder. I’m actually not sure.

Meanwhile, and despite the fact that I can be pretty pessimistic from time to time, I usually number myself among the optimists. I can even be a rah-rah guy occasionally, trying to rally the troops to do something bigger and better than originally planned or forecast. If you can gather enough optimists, you can make great things happen.

I’ve seen it firsthand.

I truly hope you have some optimists within earshot of where you are right now. They might be smarter than you or they might not be. They might have more experience … or less. They might be great workers or they might have a lot of room for improvement. But these optimists have a lot of value.

After all, pessimists are usually right, but optimists change the world.