Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pessimism or Realism

My whole life I’ve heard people speak of this “preparing for the worst”. The way I understand it is that when there is the possibility of you either getting what you want or not getting what you want, your best bet is to prepare for not getting what you want. I believe the reasoning behind this is that if/when you find out that you actually aren’t getting what you want you won’t be as disappointed. If you actually get what you want then it makes it even sweeter.

Ok so I want to examine this on a personal level (because that’s what I do). Back when I sent in my first submission for publication I applied this practice. I knew the odds were against me and that most people don’t sell on their first sub. So I figured I wouldn’t be offered a contract and that it would be ok I could just sub elsewhere. Well, when the time came and I actually got that big R I can tell you that no amount of planning for the worst could have prepared me for the feeling it gave me. I felt like some one ripped out my little heart, stamped on it with cleats, coated it with a nice crispy batter and then fried it in hot oil. Yeah, not a good feeling. Even worse was that I had spent all this time telling myself how I probably wasn’t going to make it anyway. As an advocate for positive thinking this sat very wrong with me.

So my next sub I didn’t do any of this. I sent it in, didn’t get over anxious, but I did not prepare for the worse. I sent it knowing it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I got an R but that what I truly wanted was a contract. I let the wonderful idea of being a published author slide through my thoughts and I relished in it… then I let it go and went to a football game. *g*

Well, wouldn’t you know it? I got offered the contract! Now I’m not saying that I the only reason I didn’t get the contract in scenario one was because I thought negatively or visa versa for scenario two. What I am saying is that never in my life (that I can remember) has preparing myself for the worst ever benefited me in anyway. I make back up plans, or fall backs, if the situation calls for them but I do not dwell on them. I still think about and focus upon what it is that I truly want the majority of the time. I feel that life is meant to feel good and it doesn’t feel good (to me) to dwell on the negative things that can happen when the positive feels so much better. If bad things happen I still feel bad and when good things happen I still feel good. So why not concentrate on things that make us feel good and stop trying to worry about the things that are mostly out of out control anyway?

So where do you stand on preparing for the worst? Pessimism or realism?

Talk to me.

1 comment:

Jeannie Lin said...

Well you can probably guess my answer! I'm a perpetual optimist. :) This game is hard enough as it is. You're going to get rejected. The only thing worse than getting rejected, is getting rejected and being miserable about it. I adapted this from my Vegas philosophy, developed long before my writing philosophy: You're going to lose in Vegas. The only worse thing than losing, is losing and not having any fun because of it. So chug down those "free" drinks that cost ten dollars a hand.