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Optimism is viewed as an emotion that shows hopefulness and confidence about the future and the successful outcome of something. Even when something doesn’t go as planned, optimists still hope and believe in the best. Seligman broke down optimism into two categories; those being permanence and pervasiveness. Permanence is defined as those who give up easily due to believing the bad outcomes that have happened to them are permanent. They continuously assume the bad things that happen will always be there to affect their lives. Permanence explains how long a person can give up with a possible long-lasting helplessness feeling. Those who experience a failing moment and feel hurt tend to get over it fairly quickly. Those are the people who have scored a total of 0 or 1, like me. The people who take advantage of their success and continue on a roll are the optimists of the world.

The second category is pervasiveness; specific and universal. People who make specific explanations for outcomes may become helpless and hopeless in one aspect of their lives but will still stand tall in other aspects of life. Those with a universal explanation will have one catastrophe happen to them and then suddenly their whole life has become one big fail. The pervasiveness category explains whether helplessness spreads through all situations or is just limited to the original situational area. The optimist believes good events will improve everything the person does while the pessimist thinks other factors are the cause of good events.

2. How optimistic are you? Take the optimism survey contained in Seligman CHPT 6 and report on your results. What is your PvB score? Your PvG score? Your PmB score? Your PmG score? Compare each score to the norms provided in the chapter and list how optimistic you are for each of the four scores.

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I’d like to believe I’ve been an optimist ever since I was a young kid. A perfect example happened just this weekend. I applied to two different universities for the grad school program of school counseling and just got my first rejection. At first, I felt so devastated and felt like an absolute failure at the moment. When I read the email, I went into the room and just cried my eyes out thinking I wasn’t good enough. After a few minutes, I picked myself up washed my face, and calmed myself down by saying, “It’s all good. Don’t worry. There is still another school left to hear from so don’t get your hopes down too much. It’ll all work out in the end and if it doesn’t, there are always other options”. That catastrophic moment in my life could’ve easily made me seem like a pessimist but I kept my hopes up and I still am.

Judging by my scores, I received a PmB score of 5, PmG of 6, PvB of 5, and PvG of 4. Adding the pairs up, I get a score of 10 minus the next 10, which leaves me with a breaking-even score of 0. With that score, 0 means I am very optimistic. In the permanent bad section, I got a 5. It shows that I see good events coming with permanent causes and that’s why I am so optimistic. In the permanent good section, a 6 would be considered moderately optimistic. Because I think there are permanent causes to good events, I tend to succeed and keep trying harder every time. In the pervasiveness bad category, I scored a 5 which is moderately pessimistic. That shows that I stand between believing good things will enhance everything I do and believing good things are caused by certain factors. Lastly, the pervasiveness good category scored at a 4 as well, which puts me at average. I do care about many people, but I also can be a pessimist of some sort in certain situations.

Are you as optimistic as you thought you were? Did the results surprise you? From the first question, I noted that people who experience a failed moment and feel hurt tend to get over it fairly quickly. Those are the people who have scored a total of 0 or 1, which is exactly what I had gotten. My results didn’t surprise me, so to speak. I have always been an optimistic person even at my worst times. My prior example showed a great deal of optimism because even when I felt at my lowest, I still had hoped for the best. And even if the next best thing didn’t seem so great, I kept hoping that everything would all work out in the end. A lot of people have looked down on the fact that I am an optimist at heart. A great example is when my friends and I have completed an exam and I tell them it wasn’t so bad. I’d hear, “Are you kidding? That was so hard. We all failed, for sure”. I’m starting to think it’s not about me being an optimist, but about everyone being absolute pessimists. Many tell me to get a reality check for having such high hopes, but those hopes are my reality. So, maybe it’s just everyone around me who has the habit of viewing the world from the most pessimistic viewpoint possible.

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