We all know the experience of being bombarded by bad news and feeling that the sky is going to fall.
The answer is not so simple as “read less news.”
Even if we don’t read the news, we’ll see them in another place.
Maybe it’s not the problem of the news, but the problem with our minds.
The mind is more likely to be drawn to the bad news than the good ones.
That’s okay. But if the information makes us feel bad, it probably means it confirms something we already believed.
Perhaps we are pessimistic about the future.
If that is the case, what if we can make it a choice — if you want to be happy, do great things, and help people, would you rather be optimistic or pessimistic?
Being optimistic seems better.
But there is an even better one: be optimistic for the long term, and allow yourself to be pessimistic for the short term.
My cello teacher likes to encourage me to try new ways of practicing, and she always reminds me “things will get worse before it gets better.”
It’s obvious. We all know progress is not linear.
But this is true for the world too.
There will be setbacks, in the short term, in some areas, and for some people, unfortunately, but this is how things work.
And short-term pessimism can be a good thing. It drives us to work harder and be better prepared, but we need to have faith in the future to begin with.
This worldview gives me more energy to live my life. One practical piece of advice I learned from Scott Adams is to always have a big idea in mind. Here is one that got me excited: sharing rational optimism makes the world a better place.