Optimism: Fraud or Mental Marvel

John Halstead
6 min readMar 25, 2022

Being a realist in a half full or half empty glass world

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Is the glass half full or half empty?

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This is an unfair question because it limits the possible answer choices.

The obvious answer to this question in my mind is that the glass is in the middle.

This simple question used to illustrate what positive thinking or optimism means has been used to the point of being a seriously annoying cliché. It is also disturbing because it is basically spin. No different then when politicians do it, it is blatantly obvious that it is not the real truth. My question is what is so bad about being realistic and as candid as possible in our communications and thinking.

In an article entitled 11 Optimism Tools, Examples and Exercises to Help Improve Your Outlook Madhueleena Roy Chowdhury states, “Optimists have a built-in attitude to be hopeful all the time and consider the possibilities of good things happening in life.”

Do you see Charles Manson like cults with people walking around in a chemically induced or brain washed trance. Does this make you worry about the future?

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Chowdhury goes on to explain that optimism comes from the Latin word optimum which meant the best. She points out that in psychology it is used to describe a set of traits that help people see the good over the negative. She also points out that optimism is related to how we perceive things. The story just went from a bit more mainstream back to creepy. Does it help to wear an aluminum hat with filtered metal antennas to get the perception to come in right, which is positive?

At this point it appears that optimism is a trait. Is is something that anyone can learn? What about the skeptical? To me the skeptical are negative by nature (a trait perhaps) can they become more optimistic and still be themselves?

John Halstead

I grew up in New York, lived in Vermont for a decade, and then moved to Texas for twenty years. I am currently a school teacher a blogger and a podcaster.