Your Pessimism Is Your Greatest Strength (How To Use It To Your Advantage)
Pessimistic people think we are providing unique value to the world with our negativity.
After all, no one else provides the level of intelligent and accurate critique that we do. We see and point out problems that would otherwise go unaddressed, that would ultimately result in the failure of a project or idea. Seeing why something sucks is a critical first step to making it not suck, right?
So why then does this unique and valuable skill go on so unappreciated?
What we don't see is that most people are terrified of negativity.
Most people live in perpetual fear of the worst happening, of being rejected, of not being good enough, of failing, etc and feel completely incapable to actually do something positive with that.
It usually takes pessimists years to realize this fact, because people hide it so well. And they are so good at hiding it because they hide it from themselves —by outright rejecting this darkness in their minds. It is, to them, so obviously an insurmountable beast they feel completely ill equipped to tackle that they simply delete it from their conscious mind.
And while yes, this also deletes their ability to detect and articulate accurate, intelligent, and often very important ways things are flawed and will not work, they are entirely happy to have this comparatively small loss in exchange for the massive gain of not having to bear the leviathan that is an endless and insatiable critic.
And thus comes the "Stay safe. Don't make waves. Do what you're told. Everything will work out" mindset that us pessimists love to pat ourselves on the back for not having.
But before you get on your moral high horse about how "they are weak, they reject the truth! Look how great I am!": us pessimists would 100% do this if we had the option.
We all take the path of least resistance. Pessimists just don't have the option to reject the hard truths. For some weird, often seemingly masochistic reason, our brains force us to confront it.
And so when we follow our natural proclivity to take every good idea apart with all the ways it sucks — and it does suck — it just annoys people. Because they have decided that this negativity is bad, and have repressed it. And here we come in, trying to reawaken it.
This is why us pessimists have so much conflict with most people. Because we desperately feel the need to point out why something won't work, while they are equally desperate to put their fingers in their ears and reject these flaws so as to not awaken the hyper-critical beast of chaos we are summoning.
So does this mean that pessimistic people are doomed to provide no value, and be rejected and alone forever?
Actually, it's the exact opposite.
Pessimists change the world. But it is not their pessimism that does it. That is only the first step. There are almost a dozen steps that need to happen after that before anything good comes from us.
Just like how there's nothing "wrong" with being a baby, and babies are kind of annoying, they ultimately can become super useful and often pretty neat-o human beings once they grow up.
You, similarly, just need to "grow up" your pessimism into its fully actualized form.
The process is something like the following:
First we see all the problems.
Then we become overwhelmed by all of them and have to get them out of our heads.
So we learn to articulate the problems.
But then we start overwhelming everyone else.
It is at this point that we usually get stuck the longest. WE NEED to shift toward thinking of SOLUTIONS TO THOSE PROBLEMS.
Once we've done this, we then become overwhelmed by all the solutions and must get THEM out of our heads.
So we learn to articulate the solutions.
Then we start annoying everyone with all these theoretical solutions without anything actually changing.
So we start learning to take action.
Then, we start getting overwhelmed with all the actions we take, noticing that things still aren't really changing.
It is at this point that we must learn to PRIORITIZE not only WHICH PROBLEMS TO ADDRESS but also which ACTIONS WILL MOST EFFECTIVELY solve them.
It is only after we spend a few years on step 11, that our natural pessimistic nature finally begins to shine. And MAN does it shine.
Every one who changed the world was a pessimist who learned to harness it and implement solutions to problems that can actually be solved.
If you want to have connection, fulfillment, and impact, you have to figure out how you can get to step 11 as soon as possible, and then iterate on it as efficiently as possible.
And, as a little cherry on top, you'll find all the people who previously "rejected" you for your pessimism, are now turning to you for your solutions. Which is a kind of nice.
The first step to all of this though, it to figure where you are in this process, and then figure out how to get to the next one.