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Kathryn Hoban

Legislative Aide - Michigan Senate, National Society of Collegiate Scholars

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Optimism and Pessimism: The Impact of Outlook on Outcome

Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist?
What do you think are the drawbacks and benefits of each?
To what extent do you think your outlook impacts your actions?
Tali Sharot talks about the blame that optimists and pessimists place on either themselves or other factors. To what extent do you blame internal or external factors regarding your success or failure?

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    May 15 2012: I'm an optimist and I think that I take on bigger challenges because I have the belief that things will turn out well. Optimism is a form of courage, but it also means one finds oneself in situations where the difficulties around making something work feel insurmountable. In my experience you need determination to get through that point, where an optimist without determination could be sunk.

    Pessimism (when it is foresight and not just naysaying) has the benefit of avoiding difficult situations rather than overcoming them as the determined optimist must, its a path of least resistance model. Pessimists have the benefit of never being able to be proved wrong, but they have the drawback of not being able to inspire or motivate others through their belief. Its hard to lead or innovate from a pessimistic point of view.
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      May 17 2012: I appreciate your bringing up determination and the role in plays in accomplishment, as that quality certainly matters a lot in creating outcomes. So optimists are able to go through hardship because of their determination, while pessimists try to reach the same ends through avoiding the hardship? Thanks for your comparison, Margeigh!

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