Optimism and pessimism

Optimism and pessimism

Feb 23, 2023

The emotional management quality that focuses upon optimism and pessimism has been extensively researched. The results follow a consistent pattern and show that in all areas that contributed to a better quality of life it is better to be optimistic.

In a five year study of insurance sales staff it was shown that people with a more optimistic explanatory style sold substantially more policies and stayed in their jobs longer than pessimists. The optimistic sales people outsold pessimists by 88 percent. The pessimists were three times more likely to quit. Furthermore, a two year study of estate agents showed that optimistic staff outsold pessimists by between 250 percent and 320 percent.

There is also considerable evidence that optimists are healthier than pessimists.

There is also considerable evidence that optimists are healthier than pessimists. In an innovative study that covered 52 years, Seligman found that optimists lived longer than pessimists. There are also indications that people of an optimistic disposition have stronger immune systems.

Case study

An excellent example of optimism in sport is the story of Olympic swimmer Matt Biondi. He was hailed as a superstar in the run up to the 1988 Olympics. He was compared favourably with the greatest Olympic swimmer ever, Mark Spitz.

At the Olympics Biondi finished third in his first event. Then in his second event he was inched out of the gold medal at the end of the race. This led to widespread speculation that Biondi’s efforts would end in abject failure such as he would either fail to get a gold medal or quit altogether. However, Biondi bounced back and won five consecutive gold medals. This response came as no surprise to Martin Seligman. He had tested Biondi’s explanatory style. He knew Biondi was optimistic. In experiments he found that Biondi would redouble his efforts when he had setbacks.

Reference: Managing yourself   

Enjoy this post?

Buy Askwala a coffee

More from Askwala