One of the most enduring concepts in the field of individual differences is optimism, usually described by invoking what is conventionally thought to be its opposite: optimism-pessimism. That turns out to be oversimplified: rather than being at opposite ends of a single dimension, the statistics suggest that while they are related, they represent discrete dimensions.
Optimism is often thought of as hope: the hope that things will be better in the future. In the nature of things, that’s likely for only part of the time: things also get worse! The difficulty with ‘better’ and ‘worse’ is that they have an emotional connotation; an alternative is to think about it as the inevitability of change. Better or worse actually means better or worse for ‘me’. Here’s an example: you’d very much like to see one particular candidate appointed to the management role in your team, but one of your colleagues would rather it was a different candidate.Read More