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Pessimism

  • The first-rate mind is always curious, compassionate, original, and pessimistic.

  • No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.

  • ... one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, 'It can't be done.'

  • People who 'view with alarm' never build anything.

  • How happy are the pessimists! What joy is theirs when they have proved that there is no joy.

  • Now the pessimist proper is the most modest of men. ... under no circumstances does he presume to imagine that he, a mere unit of pain, can in any degree change or soften the remorseless words of fate.

  • The pessimist, however, — be it recorded to his credit, — is seldom an agitating individual. His creed breeds indifference to others, and he does not trouble himself to thrust his views upon the unconvinced.

  • First, I was an idealist (that was early — fools are born, not made, you know); next I was a realist; now I am a pessimist, and, by Jove! if things get much worse I'll become a humorist.

  • Pessimism is the affectation of youth, the reality of age.

  • O, merry is the Optimist, / With the troops of courage leaguing. / But a dour trend / In any friend / Is somehow less fatiguing.

  • It is important to possess a short-term pessimism and a long-term optimism ...

  • To the pessimist the light at the end of the tunnel is another train.

  • The prophet who fails to present a bearable alternative and yet preaches doom is part of the trap that he postulates.

  • The prophets of doom, in my experience, are generally ignored and usually right.

  • ... an optimist is the man who looks after your eyes, and the pessimist the person who looks after your feet.

  • ... the most common type of pessimism is neither philosophical nor religious: it is the pessimism of thwarted desire. ... It is the cynical sneer of the man who, seeking roses, finds only ashes.

  • Expect the worst, and you won't be disappointed.

  • You get into the habit of being angry and hurt by life, and then when something good happens you can't accept it because it doesn't fit the pattern.

  • Men are always optimists when they look inwards, and pessimists when they look round them.

  • To be a prophet it is sufficient to be a pessimist.

  • ... got to see it, hear it, touch it, smell it, know it by our own senses to believe it — if it's good. But if it's bad — it's true.

  • Defensive pessimism is a strategy that helps us to work through our anxious thoughts rather than denying them, so that we may achieve our goals ... transform[ing] anxiety into action.

  • [He] has learnt to expect the skinny leg of the chicken.

  • 'Twixt optimist and pessimist / The difference is droll: / The optimist sees the doughnut, / The pessimist, the hole.