Converting to Optimism
Because of the natural structure of your brain (and other factors), pessimism has a tendency to worm its way into your mind. Preventing that from happening, or getting rid of it once it has established itself in your mind is not that difficult if you know how and if you are sufficiently motivated.
Being pessimistic may be natural in many ways, but once someone has recognized pessimism and wants to get rid of it, pessimism can be cured. But if you have the goal of curing someone else's pessimism, how should you go about it? Should you tell someone they are pessimistic? Probably not. Most people would get defensive, of course.
Should you point out the thought-mistakes they make when they say something pessimistic? No. About any specific pessimistic statement, you could probably argue all day and never really get anywhere if the person isn't already committed to curing her own pessimism.
The best approach is to aim at the motivation. Deal with the how-to once she's motivated. Rather than argue with a particular pessimistic statement, convince her that optimism in general is superior to pessimism in general. Optimism is better in several ways:
Optimism isn't just nice. It doesn't just make you feel better. It has a real, measurable, and significant influence on your health and on your ability to succeed in the world.
Pessimism is unhealthy, unproductive, unnecessary, and undesirable. Bringing up these facts can open the conversation and begin the process of conversion to optimism better than any other approach.
Author: Adam Khan