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Differences Between Optimism and Pessimism
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Which of the three facets explained on the video asks the question: do you feel that events are caused by you or by an outside force?
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Differences Between Optimism and Pessimism
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Hi I'm Omar Saad here for About.com and today we're going to take a look at the differences between optimism and pessimism, using information from About.com's Stress Management site.

We are all subject to the good and bad events of life, but how we view and deal with these events can, generally speaking, be what separates us from one another. Here is a closer look at the differences between optimism and pessimism.

Explanatory Styles Are Different for Optimists Versus Pessimists

As cited on About.com's stress management site, regarding one's "explanatory style," which is related to optimism and pessimism, there are three facets of how people can explain a situation and this can influence whether they lean towards optimism or pessimism. These facets are:

Stable vs. Unstable, defined by the question; can time change things or do things always just stay the same?
Global vs. Local, which asks; is a certain situation just a reflection of one aspect of your life or your life as a whole?
Internal vs. External, which asks the question: do you feel that events are caused by you or by an outside force?
Examples of Differences Between Optimism and Pessimism

Understanding how a person analyzes events through the prism of these three paradigms can help us to understand if they lean towards optimism or pessimism. For example, if an optimist received good news, such as a letter in the mail saying that they had been accepted into a grad school program, they would believe that they got in because they are smart and a great student. They would also believe that this is just one thing in the line of positive school related things that will continue to come their way, and that this positive event is just an example of the positive events that always occur throughout the rest of their life as a whole.

If this optimist was to receive a rejection letter for grad school, they would likely see this result as being determined by events outside of their control. They would also see the rejection as not indicative of any future school related results and not related to any other part of their life.

Another Example of Differences Between Optimism and Pessimism

Conversely, looking at the same situation through the eyes of a pessimist, an acceptance letter would be viewed as a fluke event, that was caused by events outside of their control, and would not be likely to occur again. A rejection letter would be viewed by a pessimist as being caused by something they did. They are also likely to believe that this is just one more thing in a line of bad news that will continue heading their way, and that this news is just part of a larger pattern of bad news throughout their life.

Understanding how people explain the situations in their lives, both good and bad, through the three facets highlighted in this video, can help one understand if they are an optimist or a pessimist. It's all in how you look at any given situation.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.
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