There is a school of thought that encourages positive thinking, as the best way of attracting good energy into your life. The person with the positive outlook will see the opportunities and grasp them. The person who believed they can succeed will have a go in the first place. Like most excessive simplifications, it’s not actually of much use. People who go around expecting things to go well for them will spend a lot of time let down, disappointed and potentially confused. Sure, a positive attitude may help you take the leap into the unknown, but that can also lead to falling flat on your face.
People who practice optimism can end up needing to also practice cognitive dissonance, in order to deal with the way experience fails to tally with expectation. Pessimists, on the other hand either get to be a bit smug (didn’t I say that was doomed?) or pleasantly surprised when things go better than anticipated. The downside to pessimism is that it can reduce the urge to get in there and have a go. It’s not so easy as a pessimist to work up the belief that you can make a real difference.
Nature does not teach us optimism. Nature teaches us that everything dies. Many of those things will die in sudden, violent ways as a consequence of something else wanting to eat them. Nature shows us that no amount of positive thinking will stop winter being a hard time of year for most living things, and very hot summers from being potentially lethal, too. Nature shows us the unexpected arrival of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, droughts and famines. A positive attitude and a belief in your own ability to survive will help you there, but it won’t make the disasters go away.
The person who anticipate shit can plan for it. Strategies of avoidance, mitigation and so forth are available if you firmly believe the universe will dump on you every now and then. It comes as no surprise, when, like Eyeore, we find a ‘well, that’s just what would happen’. There’s less trauma in it going wrong predictably.
If it’s all lovely, all part of the grand plan, the best imaginable world… if it all happens for a reason and the gods never send you stuff they know you can’t take, if the universe is love, then when it goes wrong, either you need a very twisted take on what ‘love’ means or your reality takes a pasting, too. If you see existence as neutral, and potentially hostile, then you can just accept the horrible stuff. It fits with your reality. That doesn’t make you blind to the good stuff, it doesn’t undermine the love, beauty and wonder when they manifest, but sets them in context. Understanding the crap can help you hone an appreciation of that which is not crap, too. If you don’t have to pretend it’s all love and light, it is easier to recognise and honour the bits that really are about love and light, and therefore also easier to work with them in more meaningful ways.