At least some of the time.
Pop culture bombards us with “the glass is half full” messages and scolds those that refer to anything that resembles “a half empty glass”.
Yet we owe our existence, in part, to the survival strategies that kick in when we view things pessimistically.
The pessimist label can lead to misunderstandings and mistrust, hampering multicultural teamwork. I have seen people jump to conclusions, calling someone a pessimist, simply because they used the word problem, instead of challenge.
(Germans love the word problem, because once identified, there is something specific to fix.)
When Jack Swigert and Jim Lovell communicated their situation during their Apollo 13 space flight, they did not say, “Houston, we have a challenge”. They simply called it a problem and went on to solve it with Ground Control in Houston.
Pessimism is instinctive to our survival, while optimism is fundamental to our thrivival.
Don’t let words alone lead to labelling others.
How are you encouraging meaningful conversations that express both the pessimistic and the optimistic perspectives in your leadership team?
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