Picture yourself alone in a mostly bare white room. In front of you are two nearly identical doors — one leads to the exit, and the other is a complete unknown. Which one would you choose?
In this experiment, 77% of participants headed for the unknown, a proportion that lines up with studies that show that human beings are more likely to be optimistic.
Even if that better future isan illusion, optimism has clear benefits in the present. Hope keeps our minds at ease, lowers stress and improves physical health.
Researchers studying heart-disease patients found that optimists were more likely than pessimistic patients to take vitamins, eat healthily diets and exercise, thereby reducing their overall coronary risk.
In fact, a growing body of scientific evidence points to the conclusion that optimism may be hardwired by evolution into the human brain.
Optimism is our default state, yet when we feel threatened (consciously or unconsciously), we tend towards pessimism as a method of self-preservation.
Pessimism means we miss opportunities to learn and grow from the unknown.
When are you at your most optimistic? When are you pessimistic and what causes that state of mind in you?