One of the books we had in our home when I was a kid was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Mom really liked the Reverend Doctor and recited stuff like : “Stand up to an obstacle. Just stand up to it, that’s all, and don’t give way under it, and it will finally break. You will break it. Something has to break, and it won’t be you, it will be the obstacle.” Sometimes it worked. But sometimes it didn’t work. Obstacles, I learned, can also win. Then we went to war. After some time the idea of “positive thinking” struck me as silly. We won WWII. Then we went to war. Korean conflict was put on permanent hold. Then we went to war. Vietnam war was a disaster. We left. Then we went to war. Iraq. Afghanistan. Then we went to war. A refrain? And then we went to war . . .
For optimism to reap its benefits, therefore, we might say a skeptical optimism is required. You can recite “Everything is good! I’m adorable! Everything will work out!” 20 times a day, but it won’t get you much (except worried glances from your neighbors). It must be grounded in reality, spurring people to take better care of themselves, regard problems and bad news as difficulties they can overcome, and get off the couch to solve their problems. Optimism needs a behavioral partner. [Read the article here: Source]
But, of course, “Over and over, other basic notions of the positive-psychology movement have melted in the hot glare of evidence.”
“Then we went to war.”
We need more than optimism.
“Skeptics, we have a new motto: Surly to bed and surly to rise… “