Just when you were starting to feel better about yourself, 40,000 serious-minded Germans come along and say: Not so fast…!
According to our think-positive motivational speakers, pessimism is bad for your health. But not according to a recent AARP report from a German study of 40,000 people between 18 and 96. Researchers asked how happy they thought they would be in five years, then checked back later.
Turns out the pessimists had a 10% less likelihood of death or disability. By contrast the optimists were 10% more likely to experience either or both. The AARP said: “Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions more seriously.” As one of the pessimists put it: “My motto is expect the worst, hope for the best, and you’ll never be disappointed!”
I don’t know about you, but this immediately brings to mind such celebrated optimists like Paris Hilton, the Kardashian sisters, and Dennis Rodman. Each of these headliners boasts a positive take on life. To make the point, Rodman showed up at the Vatican where he said he hopes to meet the new pope. As he enthusiastically told the press: “I want to be anywhere in the world that I’m needed.”
That brings to mind another thought. What if science could replicate the optimists? You know, populate the world with more of them than the dour pessimists. Wouldn’t that make the planet a better place? While the question may seem fanciful, apparently the technology for doing it is not. In today’s New York Times there is a front page story about not only cloning lives, but also re-cloning extinct lives.
The dinosaurs, the woolly mammoths, the ever-positive St Frances, Louis IV, Mr Rogers and Norman Vincent Peale. Find some of their frozen cells, mix up the right laboratory cocktails, and gee you may be on to another Stephen Spielberg movie.
However, I’m just pessimist enough to say I’ll wait to read the reviews first…
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