Sunday, March 22, 2009

As a note on our previous post on "Optimism in the American news", here's a not so-surprising study : optimists live longer, healthier lives than pessimists.

It makes sense as optimists are also less likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes or smoke cigarettes but of course there's more to the secret of long healthy life. Indeed, the French live longer and healthier than the Americans... so pessimism may not be so bad after all.

I also suspect that the French like the idea they're pessimistic and cynical because that's the way to be cool in France, but really they aren't.

But, shush.... don't tell them or they might take offense!


At 20:22, Anonymous François P said...

Sometimes you'd better not be an optimist : how long live the optimists depends upon the situation :

" Optimism is a critical survival tool, but only when it’s balanced with realism. This concept is known as the Stockdale Paradox, named after Admiral James Stockdale, the highest-ranking American prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The idea was popularized by author Jim Collins in his best-selling book Good to Great. When Collins asked Stockdale to explain which American prisoners did not survive captivity in Vietnam, the admiral replied, “Oh, that’s easy. The optimists.”

Collins was perplexed, but Stockdale explained that the optimists “were the ones who said ‘we’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go; and then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

Stockdale went on: “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

At 17:06, Blogger Jerome said...

Well, there's a fine (but nonetheless real) line between optimism and naivety...
Of course, one's person's optimism is another's naivety... ;-)


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