Well, I’m afraid I have more bad news for all you pessimists out there.
A new study has revealed that people with a negative view of life tend to live longer than folks who think everything will work out all right.
Yes, that’s right, Mr. Sourpuss. You have to endure your crummy life longer than your annoying, smiling friends get to enjoy theirs.
The theory behind these results seems to be that, if you always think you’ll encounter the worst result from anything you do, you don’t do anything. So pessimists take less risks, mingle with fewer germ-bearing people, and take better care of themselves to stave off all the illnesses they are sure will befall them if given the slightest opportunity.
In other words, you don’t find a lot of pessimists bungee-jumping off bridges.
Optimists, on the other hand, in addition to the partaking of particularly perilous pursuits for the pure pleasure of it, believe that a smile can be their umbrella even as they get soaking wet and catch pneumonia.
Still, I would have thought that all the worrying pessimists do would have sliced some years off their life spans. Also, I’d assume they have a higher suicide rate, although maybe not. After all, you’re not going to shoot yourself if you think the shot might not be fatal and you’ll just end up drooling in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. Which, unfortunately, will be longer because you’re the type of person who would consider suicide.
I should hasten to add that the study in question was conducted by the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany and that the subjects of this study were Germans. At the risk of employing ethnic stereotypes, it would not be a stretch to say that Germans are not known for their carefree, happy-go-lucky attitudes. For every German that was ecstatic about the Berlin Wall coming down, there were probably three who felt inconvenienced by the rubble. I point this out because there may not have been as wide a disparity between optimistic and pessimistic Germans as might be found elsewhere.
- Pessimistic German: Ach! That train might derail and go up in a fireball killing everyone on board.
- Optimistic German: Yes, but it would have been on time.
Anyway, how ironic is this whole thing? It means the more convinced you are that things will get better, the less time they have to do so. At least for you.
I hope all you pessimists can appreciate the advantage you now have. Every time some grinning idiot says, “Brighten up, killjoy. It will all be okay,” you can grimace and respond, “Hah! Not in your lifetime!”
This will cause the optimist to turn and walk away, whistling a merry tune, blissfully unaware that every happy note emanating from his pursed lips is shortening his life.
See you soon, Mr. McPoutyface.