The Boston Globe writes about optimism research, and includes the following cautionary nugget about the virtues of moderate optimism.
Economists at Duke found that compared to pessimists, optimists work more hours per week, save more money, are more likely to own stock, and are more likely to say that they’re never going to retire…”The moderate optimists are prudent people,” said David Robinson, who conducted the Duke study. “They pay their credit cards on time. They tell you that they save because saving is a good thing to do. . . . Extreme optimists are just the opposite. They have short planning horizons, they don’t pay their credit cards off on time. As you get extremely optimistic, the good behaviors drop off.”
And this nugget about when optimism is beneficial and harmful.
The importance of positivity can vary by profession. University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman, a leading researcher on optimism, has found that pessimistic law students are the most successful. Optimistic sales agents, on the other hand, significantly outsell pessimistic ones.
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