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Losing faith in idealism

I’ve realized that I’m starting to lose faith in idealism, perpetuated in part by instances where reality hasn't lived up to it, so I'm beginning to become more "realistic" about where the limits are. However, I’m worried that this leads to mediocrity. Has anyone dealt with this? [more inside]
posted by markbao on Feb 27, 2014 - 30 answers

Poof! Where'd it go?

Sometime in the last few days, I read an opinion piece that led with the observation that 2 different and opposed views exist side by side today: essentially, optimistic and pessimistic. Something like 'The world is going to hell' vs 'We're seeing a a new flowering of civilization.' The writer's point was that these contradictory opinions are both widespread and simultaneous -- like 'best of times, worst of times,' altho I didn't see that phrase. Well, I can't find it. I'm virtually certain it was an op-ed piece in the NYT. I probably read it on an iPad, and I don't know how much that content differs from other editions, but I've looked in print, on the Web, on the tablet -- no luck. (It could have originated a few days earlier and remained on the app/site.) Does anybody remember such an article?
posted by LonnieK on Mar 11, 2013 - 4 answers

Already Seen Pollyanna

What novels or movies have a vivacious, charming person drop in and change everybody's perspective or shake the place up?
posted by Fairchild on Nov 9, 2012 - 76 answers

Positivity, activate!

Feel-good poems/quotes/music/activities--basically seeking an avalanche of positive stuff! [more inside]
posted by sprezzy on Oct 2, 2012 - 10 answers

Optimist in love with a pessimist. Any tips?

Optimist in love with a pessimist. Any tips? [more inside]
posted by JoannaC on Apr 30, 2012 - 20 answers

How are British people taught to expect failure and disappointment?

Is it true, what Ricky Gervais says, about how in contrast to Americans and their high hopes, British people are taught to expect disappointment? British people: What life advice along these lines are British people given, that might differ from such U.S. ideas as Back to the Future's "you can do anything if you put your mind to it?"
posted by steinsaltz on Nov 30, 2011 - 56 answers

Keep my hope alive.

How do you stop yourself from being worn out by the negativity you perceive in the world? [more inside]
posted by Be cool, sodapop on Sep 30, 2011 - 35 answers

I really kinda thought I'd be a better person by now :(.

I've spent decades working on the same personal flaws, and despite clear goals and clever attack strategies, nothing ever seems to stick. Is it even possible to permanently "fix" specific aspects of one's character or personality? If so, how? and how long does it take? [more inside]
posted by gallusgallus on May 16, 2011 - 27 answers

Uplifting tunes for the resolutely optimistic

What are some upbeat songs that convey a message of hope and happiness and optimism and love for the great wide wonderful world? [more inside]
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico on Mar 30, 2011 - 75 answers

Has anyone here changed his/her personality from a pessimist to an optimist?

Has anyone here changed his/her personality from a pessimist to an optimist? I am talking about a lasting personality / attitude change. If so, how did you do it?
posted by bbxx on Feb 21, 2011 - 36 answers

"If we ever create a sport whereby monkeys fling poo at one another, and there's one dedicated supporter, there's a solid chance that shit will hit the fan."

What are some things you like to tell or remind yourself about when you have "woe is me" moments to steer yourself out of self-pity/moments of weakness and back into awesomeness?
posted by Christ, what an asshole on Feb 16, 2011 - 55 answers

Failing Successfully

How do I make a habit of failing successfully (or at least in ways interesting to myself and others)? [more inside]
posted by Bwithh on Feb 8, 2011 - 15 answers

I'm really tired of not wanting to date anyone.

Once upon a time, I had fun dating. After a string of spectacularly bad luck, I dread the idea of going out with anyone, because I "know" it'll be awful. Help me get my optimism back and look forward to meeting and dating. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 7, 2010 - 16 answers

Please please please let me want what I want.

I've realized that my fundamental drive is to avoid negative consequences, rather than to achieve positive outcomes. I'd like to change this. Can you help? [more inside]
posted by myaskme on Sep 1, 2010 - 11 answers

Hurf durf butter eater nudity

How should I photograph my soon-to-be-shrinking bod for best results in animated GIF? This is not a technical question but an aesthetic one. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 2, 2010 - 18 answers

Nietzsche is to Nihilism as Who is to Optimism?

I'm looking for philosophers, both classical and modern, who have constructed arguments for optimism. [more inside]
posted by MikeHarris on Dec 12, 2009 - 33 answers

"That Uniquely American Optimism"...Really?

Is "that uniquely American optimism" really so? [more inside]
posted by jefficator on May 5, 2009 - 32 answers

How to bounce back from Epic Fail?

How do you bounce back after taking a high risk opportunity that flops? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 1, 2009 - 20 answers

Can circumstances change attitude?

Can someone who seems embittered by their experiences with the world in general, and with people, institutions, religion and relationships in particular, improve their view with a change in circumstances? Or, is how they handle the feelings from those experiences more about character, with a change in location or fortunes not having much long-term emotional effect? [more inside]
posted by CollectiveMind on Mar 23, 2009 - 18 answers

An optimistic novel for an indoctrinated nihilist?

What is a classic, perhaps philosophical, novel about individual freedom to choose? So that no matter how desperate the situation you find yourself in, you always have choices about what to do, how to feel and how to think about your situation. [more inside]
posted by zaebiz on Mar 10, 2009 - 23 answers

Has anyone here ever actually learned to be more optimistic?

Has anyone here ever actually learned to be more optimistic? [more inside]
posted by katyjack on Jun 20, 2008 - 40 answers

Environmentalist porn

Optimism Filter: What individuals, groups or publications are thinking innovatively about the future of our planet and how to get there? [more inside]
posted by Mender on Jun 4, 2008 - 11 answers

Optimistic and pessimistic music.

What is the most optimistic music known to humankind, and what is the most pessimistic or depressing music known to humankind? I'm looking for genres but I'm focusing on songs. I am also interested to see which side wins in this competition -- I'd suspect the darker side defeats the lighter side in quantity, but what about quality?
posted by Knigel on Oct 20, 2007 - 76 answers

Chin up, old boy!

How does an eternal pessimist find a ray of sunshine in a gloomy world? [more inside]
posted by nightengine on Aug 8, 2005 - 30 answers

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