The Virtue of Optimism
The current pandemic breeds a lot of uncertainty and fear. The media actively participates spreading the fear. Headlines often accentuate the negative because that is what gets us to tune in. Pessimism and cynicism are weirdly addictive. While addictive, they can also be destructive – both mentally and financially. Most of us don’t seek them out, but when we encounter them, we just can’t turn away. They can consume our thoughts and affect our mood. It is easy to be a pessimist. It is more difficult, yet more virtuous, to have optimism – even in bad times.
Get All the Facts
We seldom get unbiased and complete information. Our knowledge of current events is largely driven by the news sources we frequent. Have you ever wondered why the media printed “that story”? Have you thought about why they reported a story in a certain way and not another? The news we receive is filtered through their lens.
In difficult times like these, we can step back and see the good. We can choose to see the same facts in a different light. There is always optimism. While it may not change reality, it can improve our perspective and ultimately our decision making.
See the Good
From this crisis, and as well as those in the past, we see much good in humanity. Religious, political, and other differences are put aside in a sense of unity:
- Many are donating time and resources making masks for front line workers
- Drive-byr parades for first responders, teachers, students, and high school graduates
- Sending notes, dropping off gift baskets, chalking uplifting messages on others’ driveways
- Families having time together – parents and children connecting on a deeper level
We Will Come Out Better
We humans are great at adapting and adopting. We will learn from this crisis and come out stronger and healthier. Our health habits will improve. Surfaces will be sanitized frequently. People will wash their hands more. And hand sanitizer will be the new American Express card – we won’t leave home without it. These habits will improve our overall health and well-being.
What a great time to be alive! We are living in a significant period of mankind’s progression and there is still room for optimism. We are learning to live smarter and safer, both for our own health and for generations to come.
©2020 The Behavioral Finance Network. Used with permission.
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