Okay, all you grumpy old folks out there—gather around and listen up: There are now scientific studies that might be hopeful about our basic temperament! (And because you’re a curmudgeon, you know there’s plenty of other research to dispute the following facts….)
Here’s a summary of some recent research findings:
• The marriages of optimists are more likely to deteriorate.
• Overconfident optimism can leave you vulnerable to life’s vicissitudes.
• Especially optimistic self-employed people earn about 25% less than their pessimistic peers.
• Bad moods have been connected to communication styles that are judged to be more effective.
• If you’re feeling down, you might be more prone to act in a fair manner.
• Sadness might make people more generous.
• “Defensive pessimists”—researchers’ euphemism for cranky people like us—can hitch their apprehensions onto good purposes.
• If you’re an older German adult, when you under-estimate your future satisfaction, you’re less likely to suffer from disability or die too young.
• Optimism can encourage disappointment.
• Focusing on (and preparing for) the worst outcomes joins you firmly to the two-thousand year-old philosophy of the Stoics: The premeditation of evils.
So what do you think? Can you see the value in perfecting your predilections toward grumbling, growling, sulking, muttering, griping and moaning? Can you grouse your way into a productive life? Can you hold onto your less-than-sunny disposition and still live fully? Can you quiet the twittering of cock-eyed optimists who don’t see any value in your continuing to be an older-adult curmudgeon?
And as you rejoice in your grumbling, can you see my grumpy tongue in my grouchy cheek?
Yes, this is something curmudgeons are also good at doing….
(Thanks to the work of Sarah Elizabeth Adler, whose article, “The Power of Negativity,” in the January/February 2018 issue of The Atlantic inspired this cranky entry!)