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‘How very odd it was to live your life so decisively’

In fact, he really wasn’t open to possibilities at all, now that she thought about it. How very odd it was, she thought, to live your life so decisively, to be so sure of how everything should be, as if everything in life was black and white instead of various shades of gray.

Karen McQuestionA Scattered Life 

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Life & Philosophy Psychology

Pessimism is a GIF loop

Pessimism is a GIF loop, but not the one you want to experience over and over again. Said cognitive psychologist Amos Tversky: “when you are a pessimist and the bad thing happens, you live it twice. Once when you worry about it, and the second time when it happens.”

Pessimism, like coercion, is natural. It’s optimism that’s artificial because progress is never permanent. Bad and good things happen in cycles.

Setting realistic expectations balances both outlooks. It prevents pessimists from living bad things twice and stops optimists from gambling. One must toggle between the light and the darkness.

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The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking

I asked Kappes why fantasies hamper progress, and she told me that they dull the will to succeed: “Imagining a positive outcome conveys the sense that you’re approaching your goals, which takes the edge off the need to achieve.” Oettingen and Kappes asked two groups of undergraduates to imagine the coming week. One group fantasized that the week would go as well as possible, whereas the other group conjured a more neutral version of the week. One week later, when the students returned to the lab, the positive fantasizers felt that they had accomplished less over the previous week.

Expect nothing. Prepare for everything. Maybe pragmatism and mediocrity are the pursuit of happiness.

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Nowhere exists somewhere

Nowhere exists somewhere. It may be invisible like air or essential like water, but it’s there to be occupied.

Nowhere is a place you go when life has sucked all options out you. Nowhere is that end of the road feeling, a mouse-trap of guilt and self-pity.

But nowhere is at least a place to start, a clean slate with boundless ways of action. Pursuing a direction generates confidence and kills the stigma of nowhere.

Nowhere is somewhere, depressing as it may be. But it’s just not a place you want to live in too long. Any step is a step forward out of the invisible. Hope and gut are the only thing you got.