Everyone knows that I am the bad-tempered and pessimistic one at this site. But is that necessarily a bad thing? Could this entire self-help cult of positive thinking actually be wrong?
An article by Zaria Gorvett, “Why it pays to be Grumpy and Bad-Tempered” August 10, 2016, puts the case against the self-help ideology. Cynics actually have more stable marriages, higher earnings and live longer. Cranks turn out to often be superior at negotiating.
Good moods and optimism comes at a cost. It can make one gullible and blind to problems that the pessimist, one who is sceptical about human goodness, will pick up on in a flash. The fact is, our emotions, including the so-called negative ones, evolved with mankind, and have survival value. Anger, even hatred, can in various circumstances, save one’s life. Psychological experiments testing the ability of anger versus sadness in creativity have found that anger wins hands down as it “prepares the body to mobilise resources.”