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Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Grade (So Far): Optimism

Optimism: A disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of happenings or possibilities.

How would you grade yourself so far on this most prized of attributes? Before you answer, read that definition carefully. And try to forget the hackneyed (dare I say half-assed?) "glass half full vs. glass half empty" metaphor. That's semantics and less than half the story.

"Happenings or possibilities" from this Random House definition makes grading myself for optimism very challenging. So far, I give myself a "C-" or "D+" when it comes to the former; I seem to have significant difficulty with the "silver lining" model.

On the other hand, I'm quite likely to look at the favorable side of possibilities. On that end I'd give myself a "B+" for optimism. So, split the difference and I'm in "C+" territory. The phrase "cautious optimist" fits me, at least at present.

Given today's attribute, now seems like a good time to respond to an old friend who thinks I've been too hard on myself in this series. Beginning with "ambition" on February 23, I've graded myself (and asked you to join in) on eleven attributes. My report card to date is two "A's", one "B+", four C+'s", two "C's", one "C-", one "C-/D+" split; sorry old friend, this feels about right to me. What does your report card look like? Which of the eleven attributes needs more homework?  

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