Good understanding and Optimism and Trust vs. Poor understanding and Pessimism and Mistrust

How about Optimism and Trust vs. Pessimism and Mistrust?

First, some quotes:


Progress happens when people learn something new. And they learn the most, as a group, when stuff breaks and gets painful.

So the reasonable optimist expects the world to break all the time. But they know – as a matter of faith – that if they can survive the day-to-day fractures they’ll capture the up-and-to-the-right arc over time.

(via The Reasonable Optimist · Collaborative Fund)


Seeing a situation from all angles is always preferable, adds Laslett, saying: “Any strength overplayed becomes a weakness: that is to say, blind optimism is never good.”

But a little optimism does go a long way.

(via How ‘optimism bias’ shapes our decisions and futures – BBC Worklife)


All good investing comes down to surviving an inevitable chain of short-term setbacks and disappointments in order to enjoy long-term progress and compounding.

Save like a pessimist, investing like an optimist.

(via Save Like A Pessimist, Invest Like An Optimist · Collaborative Fund)


But introverts have unique personality traits that can empower them to be exceptional leaders if properly leveraged.

(via Why introverts can be better leaders than extroverts)

There’s a quote by Gala Galaction (a writer/priest) I like a lot (from “Lângă apa Vodislavei”):

Turcul se învoi ușor cu toți, până la Iordache, crezu fiecăruia și primi și mai jos decât ceruse.

(Adapted translation – The Turk easily agreed with everyone, up to Iordache, believed everyone’s story and accepted to receive even smaller amounts of money than he asked.)

(This last quote shows pity, in my opinion.)

A quote by Nicolae Steinhardt:

Se cuvine să înțelegem că orice am face și oricât ne-am strădui, tot supărăm. Singura soluție e resemnarea. Ce putem face? Să tăcem, să tăcem. Să nu facem răul, și nici binele cu sila. Dar și trecând, tăcând, tot nemulțumim. Odată pentru totdeauna se cade să ne băgăm bine în minte: deranjăm doar pentru că suntem prezenți. Și să nu ne oprim aici: mai trebuie să recunoaștem că și ei ne deranjează pe noi! Gând înfiorător: Căci nu suntem mai buni ca ceilalți, tot în aceeași oală ne aflăm și fierbem înăbușit.

(Adapted translation – We should understand that no matter what we do and no matter how hard we try, we are still upsetting others. The only solution is resignation. What can we do? Let’s shut up, let’s shut up. Let us not do evil, nor do good by force. But even by our passing, silent, we are still upsetting others. Once and for all, it is important to keep in mind: we bother even because we are present. And let’s not stop here: we must also admit that others bother us too! Creepy thought: Because we are not better than the others, we are in the same boiling pot and we are also boiling and suffocating.)

Now, let’s get down to business.

I don’t claim I will cover the subject fully. There’s more to explore.

But I will try to understand better the topic, and take you with me in my travels.

It’s a difficult topic, it’s hard to speak what’s on your mind about trust, for example.

From the article above with introverts vs. extroverts characteristics, I tend to believe that I fall more often than not in the bucket of introverts, not that of extroverts. I think I’m much rather an introvert.

Sometimes, people tell me I hide behind the keyboard and screen and write with much more openness in virtual settings, rather than in real-life scenarios. This might be true, I tried to improve on this in the past few years.

But the main message remains – I tend to write with more openness and close myself in public. I tend to attribute this to introversion.

I think there’s an equilibrium between three things:

  • A good understanding of reality. A lot of problems tend to arise due to misconceptions. Some people imagine some scenarios, and when they don’t show up in reality, they get upset.
  • Optimism. I think you need to be critical and realistic and a bit negative, but, all-in-all, at the end of the day, you need to be a bit more optimistic than negative. Although, for certain, you do need negativity in your life. You can’t be 100% optimistic, that’s not good.
  • Trust. You need to invest your trust in others.

I’ll talk below about reality vs. optimism vs. trust.

Also, I think there’s an equilibrium between the good, the true, and the beautiful. If you have one of these three, the other two tend to follow. You can’t have a person doing good without also being beautiful and telling the truth. You can’t have an open person, telling the truth, and not be good and beautiful. Finally, a beautiful person is also good and speaks the truth.

In my opinion, there’s a national problem in Romania: we don’t have enough trust in others, we don’t inspire trust into others, and when someone puts their trust in us, we have no idea how to behave.

About optimism, trust, and seeing the truth, I think it’s, all in all, better to be a bit more optimistic, put trust in others and try to view the objective truth.

Also, you tend to hurt others just by living, by every interaction. You can’t live your life and even hope you’ll never annoy and disturb anyone. You’ll certainly do so. But it’s worthwhile to still live life to the fullest, if by doing so you learn not to annoy others. I don’t think you can live your life without, in a way or another, disturbing others. And quite a lot.

Is it worthwhile to think about mistakes you’ve done in the past? Generally no, but if they help you do fewer mistakes today, if they make you fail at a lower rate – then, why not? Just try to get your learnings, and focus on getting better. Don’t focus on the mistake, even if you could have avoided it, at the current point you can’t change it. But you can learn from it.

On another hand, you shouldn’t obsess with the past, that’s clear.

Some stories, now.

Around 1996, one person lost a large sum of money, collected from all the school class colleagues. He claimed all the others should pay the sum again, as he wasn’t responsible if the sum was stolen from him.

On another hand, when mostly due to his fault he broke a blackboard, he claimed, again, that other parties should pay.

There’s a lack of understanding, in this situation, about who carries the responsibility. There’s also an inevitable trust from others in that person.

Once, in high school, I was impolite to a girl. I didn’t want to cause suffering, but I also didn’t put too many emotions into this. And the inevitable happened – the person was upset to me, a lot. I lacked the understanding of the situation, and I also lacked trust no only in that girl, but also in myself. I tried to fix this, but you can’t fix a broken heart. I did wrong.

One of the first jobs I ever did was transforming a paper written by hand into a Word document. It was around 1998-9, something like that. I typed a bit fast to reach the deadline and did make some mistakes. I put my trust in some school colleagues, told them about this, and let them negotiate my payment. They gave the third party the electronic document but failed to take my payment. I lost trust in them back then. The misunderstanding here was that I would write with more mistakes than another general person. The lack of trust was both from the third party in my abilities and from my colleagues in my work.

At some point, in high school, I told a person which I knew he didn’t like me, a “secret confession”. That person believed me and used it against me. I did poorly, I shouldn’t have faked the error, I lost the trust of that person completely. It was meant as a situation of “Let’s see what might come out of this”, but I don’t see too many scenarios out of which good things could have come.

I was in charge with gathering some money from my colleague students in college to photocopy a book. By mistake, a photocopied the wrong book. I took the blame, and paid from my own money the new copy. Quite proud of these, I might have done something right.

At some point, in college, I was in charge of photocopying some papers for my colleagues. I tried to find a cheap solution, but this involved more time. At some point, I had to choose – “I’ll upset some people by not copying 100% the papers, or I’ll miss one class”. I went to the class, and, of course, one person was upset. The solution of my colleagues? Copy the papers with more money, in less time. Nobody was upset with this solution. Here, there was a misunderstanding from my part of what’s important and what’s not. To most of my colleagues, the price of a Xerox copy was too small to bother about differences between them.

At one job, I was asked, in the first stages of interviewing, what’s the minimum salary for which I’d take the job. I answered, in written form. I was given that exact amount. Furthermore, I felt betrayed, I was hoping they’d give me more money. With the first good alternative offer, one year later (I didn’t apply to that many other jobs), I left the company. They felt betrayed. A lack of understanding from both parties.

At another job, one company didn’t do properly my papers, so I will have fewer benefits at pension. I put my trust in them, they didn’t raise to the level.

I put some effort in building a custom PC for a friend, asked online on what to buy, made the reservation for the PC, ordered the parts, all that was remaining was picking up the PC. My friend didn’t like the headquarters was recently moved, and it was a company with a small headquarters, he refused to pick up the PC from that company. They were upset, they had an assembled PC which was likely difficult to sell to others. More than this, when my friend tried to order another PC, he chose between a DVD-RW and DVD-RAM the latter option, so that he won’t be able to write DVDs, even if the price was identical. Guess who would write DVDs for his friend in the next years?

Whenever I had invites to events, I used to think – I should help others, also, go to events. So I tried to give invites to others, and ask, in return, a blog post about the event on my own blog. My complaints about this:

  • Some people didn’t attend the event, and didn’t inform me well ahead, so I could give the invite to others.
  • A lot of people didn’t spend more than 15-30 minutes writing the blog post. So, for a rather expensive events, they spent little time documenting it.
  • Some people who did write something, wrote low quality articles, with low quality photos.

All-in-all, it was clear to me that much rather than allow someone to thank me by writing a follow-up email, I’ll give the invites for free to some close friends.

That’s a shame, if they had written good blog posts, I would have invited them again.

All-in-all, I can’t actually remember any guest blog post as a follow-up that was of great quality. Some were good, most were poor, some even lacked at all.

People don’t understand (or care, but I hope it’s understanding) that you need to put more effort in a follow-up blog post for a rather expensive event given to you for free.

If I do something wrong, and I can do something in return, I try to do so. For example, some years ago one person paid me in advance, and for some reasons, I didn’t rise to the expectations. Even today I work for him sometimes for free, others with a diminished rate, trying to compensate for that thing.

At some point, one person asked me to repair a PC online. I tried to, but made a mistake (I’m not a professional service provider in this, accepted to do so when that person insisted). It was wrong from my part to accept the task, I had a much better and profitable use of my time rather than repair a PC. And that person lost time and money.

When I lived in the United Kingdom, some sellers were so pushy, they had no trouble whatsoever doing bad things, lying, just to get the contract signed. You couldn’t trust them.

All in all, in the UK people had much better levels of trust.

How to handle putting people in contact? That’s a hard issue, I don’t have a definitive answer. It’s so bad when I’m put in the middle, and people get upset, I don’t like this at all.

Shawn Harquail - Happy Holidays!
Shawn Harquail – Happy Holidays!,
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