I have been a big fan of science fiction my entire life. Back when I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to watch the latest episodes of The Jetsons, Lost in Space, Outer Limits and of course Star Trek. Recently, Thom and I agreed that one of our favorite rides at Disneyland used to be Carousel of Progress. In 1977, the year Thom and I met and married, theaters gifted us with the first Star Wars movie—and we saw it at least seven times that summer along with every sequel and prequel ever since. And let’s not forget books like Dune or everything written by Ursula K. Le Guin or Robert A Heinlein. I think the attraction is the mostly positive vision of life, people and worlds so creatively different—and yes, all wrapped around an adventure. To me, science fiction requires unlimited imagination and open-mindedness. If we can’t imagine something different and yes, impossible—how can we ever hope to create or achieve it? And now, a new sub-genre of science fiction called solarpunk raises that bar in optimistic and innovative ways.
(originally titled: The Only Thing We Know For Sure Is That We Don’t Know Anything For Sure) Most of you who read my blog know that I am an optimist. I also believe in the power of positive thought. The way I see it, positive thought is different from positive thinking because just thinking of things doesn’t always affect them. But when you change your thoughts (or mindset) about things, it usually spurs the actions that lead to change. So imagine my delight when I came across the work of Ellen J. Langer who not only reinforces that idea about “thoughts,” but also offers research to support them. Calling on what she labels the “psychology of possibility,” Langer says that it “first requires that we begin with the assumption that we do not know what we can do or become.” In other words, the only thing we know for sure is that we can’t know anything for absolute certain. [Read more…]
I’ve been an optimist since the day I was born. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you probably think I’m either incredibly fortunate or unbelievably naïve depending upon your perspective. Yet after reading a new book, I not only understand a great deal more about what motivates me and why, I’ve also developed a much higher appreciation for those more pessimistic than me. In fact, sometimes the best approach for any of us is to ramp up our prevention-focus and practice a bit of defensive-pessimism depending upon the circumstances. That’s right, I now know that even a diehard optimist like me can benefit from being a little pessimistic. [Read more…]
Do you see the glass half-full or half-empty? Do you hunt down risk or avoid it like the plague? Do you prefer the excitement of adventure or the comfort of the familiar? Until recently I was under the impression that those questions simply determined whether a person was an optimist or a pessimist. However, now I know they actually reveal two different but important motivational perspectives—a promotional focus or the prevention focus. And while each of us tends to favor one or the other, we all use both ways to focus from time to time. What’s even more important to understand is how each kind differs and how using one or the other can go a long way toward helping us stay motivated, and live a more fulfilled and rewarding life.