What Did You Expect?

Optimistic and pessimistic people both get what they expect. Shocking, isn't it?

It's been said that the pessimist thinks the glass is half empty while the optimist thinks it's half full. Of course, the computer programmer simply observes that the glass is twice as big as it needs to be, but that's another story. No matter which half of the glass people tend to patronize, however, they're usually well armed when it comes to defending their position.

Actually, I've always been rather fascinated with both optimists and pessimists alike. In an age when wizards are unemployed and sorcery is relegated to popular children's stories, it's exciting to find people who can still perform good, old fashionedold-fashioned magic.

Let's slip backstage for a moment and take a look at an average day in the lives of our players. Out of courtesy, we'll let the pessimist go first. Of course, he'll probably just grumble that he knew he was destined to be little more in life than the opening act, but then, artists are temperamental creatures by nature.

If fact, since we're basking in the glow of the limelight anyway, let's use the life and times of a couple of actors as our setting. Both have equal talent and appearance, and both are sleeping on floors, waiting tables, and struggling to find paying work in their chosen vocation. In other words, they're typical entertainers.

Our downcast friend desperately needs to land a part, since eating on a regular basis is a well-known requirement for operating a human body. However, being a glass is half empty kind of guy, he's not encouraged by his prospects. He goes to few auditions because he just knows he's not right for the part. In conversations with his friends, he continually complains about how unfair the business can be. He's sure that he'll never land a good part and in general sums up his prospects for success in the business as bleak.

Once again there are upcoming auditions and his friends succeed in convincing him to give it a try. However, because he's sure he won't get the part, he puts in little effort beforehand. Accordingly, his audition is a disaster and as he anticipated, the part goes to someone else.

Of course, when gathered with his friends once more, he points out that he told them that this was what would happen. Fortunately for the validity of his perspective, he was right.

As it happens, our optimistic friend sleeps on the floor just one flight above his downcast neighbor, and it's been about as long since he's had a good meal. However, when gathered with friends, he never fails to express his confidence that he will one day succeed. Even when people point out that the odds of winning the lottery are probably better, he just smiles and says that there has to be a winner, so it might as well be him.

No matter what opportunity arises, he auditions for it. Undeterred by failure, he practices for hours each night after work. He's rejected at every audition, right up to the one where he's awarded the part that our pessimistic friend failed to land.

Later, when gathered with his friends once more, he points out that he told them that this was what would happen. Fortunately for the validity of his perspective, he was right.

Our contestants can both justify their results perfectly well. They got exactly what they expected. There's a bit of working man's magic in here for everyone. Each actor, through their perspective, created their own reality. Not through incantations and waving of wands, but because they lived their lives according to their expectations. The outcomes were inevitable.

You cannot succeed in any endeavor if you continually reinforce the fact that you're a failure, for you'll take actions consistent with your beliefs. If you're convinced that you're a winner, you'll eventually prove it for the very same reasons. But then, what did you expect?

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