Is Negative More Honest?

I suspect that TOF must have been in the midst of something very significant when he suggested this topic. It is so subtle that I have had to wrack my brains, what little there is that is, to come up with something to fill a few paragraphs that will make sense. To start with I hope that I have understood what he meant by the topic as I intend going about it looking at pessimists as being the negative who can however come across as honest as they are unlikely to take risks that an optimist is likely to take.

I have known a lot of pessimists in my corporate life who did very well with their responsibilities; they were able to do so well because of their pessimism. And I am serious! They inevitably transformed negative thinking into anxiety and that anxiety into action that produced some amazing results. By imagining the worst, pessimists were able to motivate themselves to prepare more and they also tried harder so that they did not fail.

We need pessimists to anticipate the worst and prepare us all for it as some information that keeps humming away in the background but someone like me, who is an eternal optimist with supreme confidence in his own intuition, such pessimists can often come across as damp squibs. And my reaction?
stop being negative Birdtown Comics

But dig as I deep as I do into my experience, I am unable to come up with an assessment as to whether being negative means being honest unless TOF had in mind someone who can say things like, “I don’t know”, I don’t think that it will work”, “We have always done it this way before here” and so on. Somehow although these statements do sound as though they are honest, I think that these reflect insecurities and pessimism rather than honesty.

There is however the ability to say “No” that seems to come more easily to the negativist than to the positivist. But being the latter, I would rather.
just say no

Had I still been in the corporate life, I would have carried out more research on this subject, but now, I cannot afford to have any kind of negativity in my life. I hope that TOF understands and forgives me my inability to come up with some profound thoughts on this subject.

I hope that you enjoyed reading my take on this subject which was chosen by Conrad the The Old Fossil who is on a sabbatical from blogging, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us write on the same topic. The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Ashok gaelikaaMaxiShackman. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too! Ashok too is having prohlems with his blog being down and may or not participate this week.

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24 Responses to Is Negative More Honest?

  1. kylie says:

    I once worked with a confirmed pessimist but when challenged he called himself a realist, a lot of his dire predictions did actually come to pass so maybe he was actually very smart?
    i would usually err on the side of optimism, it costs nothing and if the worst comes you havent wasted energy that will be useful for recovery
    kylie recently posted..Wild Books

  2. Ursula says:

    “Is negative more honest?” Pardon? Don’t understand the question.

    Puts down pencil, leaves paper blank and the room,

    U
    Ursula recently posted..Tizz

  3. Gautam says:

    Faced with a situation we refer to past experience and knowledge and weigh what’s going for and against a proposition. Both the pessimist and optimist are dishonest only in the sense that they are overwhelmed by or focus on one side of the scale while disregarding the other. Both approaches when taken to the extreme are foolishness considering the information in hand. You’ve rightly pointed out however that both are essential to a corporation to caution and prepare for potential pitfalls and to drive us to action.

  4. Looney says:

    More honest than what?
    Looney recently posted..Somewhere Under The Rainbow

  5. I do not think the question is about pessimism and optimism as much as it is about truth and untruth. Fact and fiction. Spin doctoring.

  6. bikehikebabe says:

    I’m a bit of a pessimist. I get to be delighted when things turn out for the good which they usually do. Though I hear that optimists live longer.

  7. I believe the research on optimism v pessimism shows that realistic optimists are more successful than pessimists. Not to mention happier. My vote is with positivity.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Okay, I took a bit of an unexpected blog break.

  8. When we were first married and going out, I would tell my husband, “Say I look nice. I don’t care if you lie as long as you lie convincingly.” If he had said something negative it might have been more honest, but not very smart.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Yay, Cat!

  9. Alan G says:

    Negativity is divisive in my view. I can’t quite make the connection between pessimism and negativity as some do. Negativity is a human trait that evokes debate and anger. Pessimism on the other hand is a personal emotion that overshadows any sense of hope. I think that I may be somewhat pessimistic in general but I see that as a good thing from my perspective because in my day to day activities I am less likely to be disappointed because I have measured expectations.
    Alan G recently posted..The Porterhouse Movies….

    • Alan, this is one post on which so many interpretations of the intention of the topic has come about that I intend asking TOF to comment on all the LBC posts on the topic to clarify what he had in mind.

  10. As with everyone else, I pose a question to myself and then change over time. This question came from a period where a negative assessment was put forth due to bias and my realization was that all of us have assessment bias. This is separate from outlook and expression and plan of action growing from it, which is where I see optimism and pessimism coming into play.

    Part of this grew out of my experience with blogging and the responses of people in comments. Some were very consistently negative regardless of the topic or how well it was produced. Some were very consistently positive regardless. The ones I treasured were the ones recognizing the negative and transforming its expression to the positive, always with regard for honest perception of and regard for the situation. It is not easy to do this.
    The Old Fossil recently posted..Is Negative More Honest?

  11. And, I have posted on this topic over at my own blog. I did so before reading the content of anyone else’s as is the LBC way. It explains more fully the origin of this query.
    The Old Fossil recently posted..Is Negative More Honest?

  12. nick says:

    It depends entirely on the context. Negativity might be an honest assessment of the situation, or it might be an attempt to wriggle out of doing something (“That’ll never work, no point in doing that”) in which case it’s dishonest.
    nick recently posted..Count me out

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