Stoics vs Pollyanna-ists

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Stoics believe in pure reason. One of the things that clouds their reason, they believe, is negative emotions. In attempting to remove themselves from the clutches of these negative emotions, they steep themselves in them to remove their power. It’s a type of desensitization therapy to regard a flower each time you see one in bloom as a thing that will wither and die. Just like you and everyone you love. In some ways, they are obsessed with those emotions.

There are another class of people that are kind of the opposite of the Stoics. They don’t steep themselves in negative emotions, they discount them. If I feel sad, it’s because I’m a weak person. It’s not quite the same as Pollyanna seeing the bright side, but they think it is.

I’ve noticed this recently with some personal emotional stuff and some people’s responses, my own included.

In addition, I’ve seen people behave like this on projects.

One school of thought is, “Fail early, Fail often.” The thought being we learn by making mistakes. They drive towards failure and focus their energy on understanding their failures more than their successes.

The other school of thought believes, “Failure is not an option.” Signs of failure are ignored as something not worth considering or they throw good money after bad thinking a failure can be overcome long after the failure has consumed all.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. We can learn from our successes and our failures. And most importantly, we must neither ignore our negative emotions nor stew in them to the exclusion of enjoying the beauty around us.

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