Life story: Subjective optimism
Suppose you meet a girl who is pregnant and has to move away to marry the guy responsible for that, instead of going to nursing school to be a nurse. And then she had another child before breaking up with this guy, and then met with the owner of the pet food. She would never really know to go to a wedding instead of going to a nursing school, but she believed it was.
When talking to you, she thinks that life can not be any better, but how can it be so? That’s what psychologists call subjective optimism – looking at life as if it were happening in the best way possible. When you find yourself in a bad situation that does not seem to have a way out, you will have the magical power to turn the unhappiness into luck.
Subjective optimism is complementary to the sour grapes, which tend to make things look unattainable, as if from the beginning, we do not want them.
Subjective optimism is the factor that saves those who suffer great loss. In 1999, psychologists Daniel Gibert and Jane Jenkins opened a photography course at Harvard for research, and for students at the time, it seemed like a normal classroom teaching using the camera and film coating.
Each person will have to go out, take photo memories for his time in college. After each person had taken twelve photographs, the researchers asked them to select two from the negative film roll to wash out the 20x25cm image. After having two pictures in front, beautiful and meaningful, each student must choose one to retain. Removed will be kept by the researchers for proof that they have done their job.
A group of students are asked to make a decision immediately and the other group is given a time to think and may change the decision many times before making the final decision.
After a long period of time, psychologists interviewed these students. The group had to pick right away and said they liked the photo. The photo left has sunk into oblivion. Conversely, the group was allowed to think for a long time, replying that perhaps they had made a mistake. They always thought, maybe forever, do not know the photo they choose is less meaningful than the picture they left behind. They longed to return to the past to change their minds.
From this research, scientists have concluded that your positive self-optimism trend is stronger when you fall into irreversible situations. Those who are not selected later feel happy, while the chosen ones are melancholy. Being trapped in a situation where there is no way out has triggered subjective optimism.
Source: “You are now less dumb” – David Mc. Raney