Don’t Ever Become a Pessimist

People tell me that I sound like a pessimist, but I’m more of an idealistic pragmatist. You have to see problems for what they are in order to find solutions. That doesn’t mean you can’t have high-minded principles and lofty ambitions. It means you can’t just believe things will work out and wait for it to be so. You need to put in the world.

I know that my disposition right now is colored by seasonal affective disorder. Not only are depression and anxiety my constant companions, but my coping mechanism is to just put my shoulder into it. The Finns have a word for it: sisu. Somewhere between heroically fighting on even though you know you can’t win, and just going through the motions until you get through it, lies the concept of sisu.

Don’t ever become a pessimist… a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events.

Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973)

So if I sound negative, it’s because I’m enmeshed in solving problems. At least, the ones that can be solved. Being pragmatic also means recognizing that you don’t always know the right answer. It also means acknowledging that some problems can’t be solved, and that can be utterly terrifying.

Don’t Ever Become a Pessimist

People buy products based on stories. Since September I’ve been thinking about how to best present the ideology behind my company. I want people to know the reasons why I do things that way I do, and the vision I have for my creative output. My hope was to generate some momentum behind those ideas, and get a real movement going.

At the moment I’m walking some of that back. Not because of pessimism, but pragmatism. I see the state of the world, and the discussions going on within my publishing niche. Factor in how the bits of ideology I’ve presented to the world have been received so far, and it feels like the wrong tack.

People are contentious right now. There are contrarians ready to fight you if you say water is wet. I don’t have the spoons to fight people over stupid shit. Especially when I’m not actually defending my ideals. It’s a waste of time. The ideals are going to be out there. I’m just not going to lead with the lofty ambitions, because at this moment in history people tend to suck. They are not a problem I am capable of solving.

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