Optimism And Pessimism Are Copouts

Leave it to Wendell Berry to drop a stoic line like this,

The programs of optimism and pessimism are copouts because you’re taking the responsibility off of yourself to keep trying. 

Leave it Nick Offerman to interpret said Wendell Berry stoic line like this (paraphrased): 

You can say, “everything will be great, so let’s watch TV,” or, “everything is screwed anyway, so let’s watch TV.” You’re view on “everything” is the copout to get to the self-soothing watching TV brings. 

It’s better to be hopeful instead of optimistic or pessimistic. It’s better to hope to keep going. And not because you’re going to win or things are going to work out well, but because it’s better to be “going” than “not going.” 

The power is in the progress AND the internal engine that keeps you thinking you can.*

Optimists and pessimists always expect their biased outcome. So they never get a little surprise. 

The hopeful, on the other hand, always expect to do what needs to be done to keep them moving. When things work out, they can drink that satisfaction, and then get back to doing the work. 

I highly recommend Nick Offerman’s book, Gumption, and its Wendell Berry chapter in particular. 

*and thinking you can, and thinking you can, and thinking you can…

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