Are we born optimists or pessimists?

Elizabeth Acquino wrote today in a back and forth conversation we were having on the post “When does old age begin?” that her father has been an “exceptionally positive person” for as long as she can remember. Her comment reminded me of a line of thought I have found interesting for years. It is this: are some of us are born to sunshine and others to shadow?

I’ve been a glass half-full rather than a glass half-empty person all my life, even when direct observation made it clear the glass was sometimes bone dry.

Years ago, when I was completing a B.S. degree in psychology, I wrote a research paper exploring resilience in the human psyche, and why it was that in seemingly identical crisis situations, some people successfully adapt and others suffer life-long traumatization.

I eventually came to the conclusion that we are all born with individual tool-kits to help us through the slings and arrows of outrageous existence, and that some poor devils find only a screw-driver or a chisel in their kit, while others get an overflowing array of every kind of tool imaginable. Luck of the draw.

Well, time to sleep. Just a thought.

One thought on “Are we born optimists or pessimists?

  1. Interesting — I often describe certain people that I know as “not having tools in their toolbox” — and while my first inclination is to feel frustrated with them, I lean toward compassion eventually.


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