Why does optimism make people angry?
If you even mention the word in mixed company, not only do you get ridiculed and treated as though you are a little simple, it actually makes people angry. At you.
But why is this?
As a natural pessimist (I am terrible cynic) I have a few ideas. Pessimism, I can tell you first hand, does not beget success or happiness. Not trying is not winning. It is only by acting optimistic (making that call, going on that date, submitting that proposal, even buying that lottery ticket!) even when we feel completely otherwise, that we even have a chance of success. Expectations, as I have said and written all over the place shape reality, precisely because they change our actions. Change your expectations; change your life (if you can get yourself to believe they can). How annoying!
As such, I suspect that a lot of our antagonism towards the optimists lies in envy. That’s right. We hate the optimists because they have a better chance of success than the rest of us. And that’s uncomfortable. If we are a committed pessimist, it is within our own selfish interests to convert optimists to the church of pessimism (much like it is in the interests of bitcoin HODLRS to convert others’ fiat into their crypto currency of choice) in order to retain our current position of power and privilege in great crab bucket of life. If they get ahead, you fall behind, unless you hold them back with you.
Anyway, more thoughts on the moral imperative (and competitive advantages) of optimism from Bruce Whitfield’s book, Genius, here :